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Cimple wins Innovate UK Grant to develop ethical AI to help supercharge small organisations getting the best out of procurement

Published: 26/06/2023

Cimple has secured grant funding through the Innovate UK funding program. This funding will enable Cimple to undertake a three-month study into the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help improve outcomes for Small and Medium Enterprises with Government contracting.

Our ambitions in the automation and AI arenas were evidenced by Innovate UK awarding Cimple a Smart Grant in 2022 looking at the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to improve social outcomes in the NHS (and wider) procurement.

The work on this has evidenced that AI can be harnessed as a power for good, but also comes with its risks in how it is used ethically and transparently. Cimple wants to accelerate the use of AI in a trusted way to help improve productivity and outcomes for all but especially SMEs in Government Contracting. In this context, that includes both private SMEs (i.e. Suppliers) and SMEs in the public sector i.e. Schools, GP surgeries etc, who account for 80% of the total number of public sector organisations.

The architecture of Cimple, and its mission, has been built for a grant like this. Let us deliver cutting edge capabilities, in a secure way, that supports our users to get the best out of procurement. AI in the context of our world is incredibly exciting but also comes with its challenges. As a platform, Cimple has to be trusted by our users that we are deploying capabilities that are transparent and fair to all. This grant is pivotal in enabling our mission. Wyndham Plumptre, CEO of Cimple

InnovateUK is the UK’s national innovation agency, driving productivity and economic growth across all sectors, technologies and regions in the country. With this project we are hoping to tackle some of the challenges faced by SMEs when undertaking Government contracting. Recently the UK Government reported that only £1 in £5 (c21%) was going to SMEs, well behind the policy of 33p in a £1 (33%).

Despite recent digital innovation (e.g. delivered through the base Cimple solution) the broader procurement landscape is still immature in how it optimises outcomes for SMEs. This immaturity causes significant issues for UK SMEs despite the Government's drive to support their growth through government spending.

The funding we have secured is for phase 1 of an Innovate UK grant where Cimple will be building a consortium that can evaluate technological approaches in response to the overall challenge.

As a significant portion of this grant is putting the right consortium in place for phase 2, our focus is on gathering a diverse set of personas and organisations to make the most advantageous group capable of meeting the project objectives based on the subject we are tackling. We aim for the consortium to consist of specialists in; behavioural insights, big data, artificial intelligence, supply chain and others, while covering different industries of academia, large organisations and SMEs. If you think you may be interested in understanding more please contact the Cimple team here (please be aware the project closes at the end of July).

UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is pleased to announce the Accelerating trustworthy AI: Phase 1 feasibility study competition winners as part of the BridgeAI programme, funded through the UKRI Technology Missions, designed to exploit the UK’s global leadership in transformative technologies to help solve specific problems, whilst also helping cement that leading position. Overall, UKRI is investing £250 million in Technology Missions to enable new and existing capabilities and capacity in artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and engineering biology in the years 2023-2025 and beyond.

42 projects are currently working to accelerate the adoption of trusted and responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies by reducing bottlenecks during development and deployment of such technologies and making important steps to the realisation of the potential of AI. Innovative UK team

Further information on the full list of UKRI programmes being supported by this funding can be found at this link. We’re investing in our AI talent pipeline with a £54 million package to develop trustworthy and secure artificial intelligence, and putting our best foot forward as a global leader in tech both now, and in the years to come.RT Hon Chloe Smith MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology

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