The British government is partnering with leading businesses to develop a new industrial masters programme for artificial intelligence (AI).

Under this scheme, the British Computer Society and Alan Turing Institute will collaborate with universities and major corporations such as Ocado, Amazon, Rolls Royce and McKinsey & Quantum Black to boost the numbers of highly qualified AI experts, thereby providing the UK's tech sector with access to essential skills.

Work to develop the programme will begin in July this year, with a planned launch in 2019. This comes as part of a broader £1 billion government deal for the AI sector, which has been identified as a key driver of economic growth in the coming years.

To further support businesses in this field, a new Start-Up Visa for entrepreneurs will also launch in spring 2019, while a £2.5 billion Patient Capital Fund will be launched to support UK companies with high growth potential to access long-term investment.

Additionally, UK firms will be given the opportunity to work with two new Tech Hubs launched in Brazil and South Africa helping them to develop skills, capability and business networks in these markets, with Ordnance Survey's geospatial data also set to be made accessible to small businesses for free to boost competition in the digital economy.

Finally, Roger Taylor has been named as the new head of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, which is being established to promote safe, ethical and innovative use of data, and to position the UK at the forefront of global efforts to capitalise on the opportunities AI can provide.

Digital secretary Matt Hancock said: "With Roger Taylor at the helm of our new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, plans to train the top-tier tech experts of tomorrow and a commitment to develop a new National Data Strategy, we will continue to be Europe's digital dynamo and the place to start and grow a digital business."

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