Imperial College and Liverpool Uni to lead AI chemistry hub

Article by Adam Duckett

A NEW UK research hub has received £12m (US$15m) in funding to investigate how AI can accelerate chemicals development.

The AI Chemistry Hub – known as AIChemy – will bring together academic researchers and industry to see how tools like machine learning, automation, and robotics can accelerate the chemicals development needed to meet climate and health challenges.   

US researchers from Microsoft and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who are also working at this interface, made headlines last month after they used AI to compress 20 years of battery chemistry research into less than a week.

“AI has the potential to transform chemistry and this new cross-disciplinary research hub aims to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of the AI chemistry revolution,” said Kim Jelfs, a professor at Imperial’s Department of Chemistry and the Institute for Digital Molecular Design and Fabrication (DigiFAB) who is co-leading the hub.

Andy Cooper, from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Chemistry and Materials Innovation Factory (MIF), added: “There is huge scope for chemistry researchers to work more effectively with AI researchers, and this new hub will bring together two separate disciplines to build a new cohesive UK research community.”

The hub’s other partners include researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, UCL and the universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, and Strathclyde.

The funding comes as part of a wider £80m investment in AI announced today by state-funded innovation agency UKRI. Another eight hubs are being created to focus on topics including electronics and data quality.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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