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Cardiff AI company awarded £50,000 R&D grant

Artificial intelligence (AI) company Nightingale HQ has been awarded £50,000 from the UK Government’s Research and Innovation organisation after successfully pitching to its Innovate UK grant fund. 

The Cardiff-based developer is one of 800 UK companies to be awarded funding to develop projects that will support businesses across the country, making them better placed to deal with future disruption similar to that of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nightingale’s AI Productivity Toolbox project will support SME’s across the UK that need to dramatically lower costs by creating six, free-to-use, AI-based tools. Essentially, the tools will be able to be used ‘off the shelf’ and will integrate with the software and systems that businesses use in their day-to-day work.

Beginning in July, the project will see one tool launch each week, including chatbots, meeting captioning and transcript software, Sales AI, Cognitive AI-powered invoice processing, social listening AI and productivity-boosting Robotic Process Automation. These technologies will help businesses build essential digital capabilities in the face of a post-COVID-19 world.

Nightingale HQ helps enterprises use data science and AI to future-proof their businesses, making them more able to adapt to the disruption that automation will bring to industries across the world.

  Data Scientist and CEO of Nightingale HQ Steph Locke said: “Our mission has always been to help organisations and businesses get AI-ready. So when we spotted the opportunity, we felt that a project to create free and easy-to-integrate AI tools would really help those struggling to keep costs down whilst also growing their enterprises.

  “We were told that Innovate UK had received more applications for this single grant than all the competitions they ran in 2019, so to be chosen from such a huge number of projects really confirms that we’re tapping into a genuine need for AI support.

“If the rapid changes and uncertainty of the pandemic have taught us anything it’s that businesses need to be able to adapt as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Through using AI tools, be it smart chatbots to deal with customer enquiries, or Robotic Process Automation to take over repetitive tasks and free up staff for more creative works, automation and AI are going to be the way organisations do more with less. It’s inevitable.

“Quite simply, it is a way of operating that almost all industries will have to implement; and it is during this time of great change that business should start to think smart, and future-proof.”

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. The competition – which had an initial funding pool of £20 million, which was subsequently doubled to £40 million – aims to invest in projects that could support UK businesses focus on the emerging or increasing needs of society and industries during and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

It states that by fast-tracking innovation through funding, the UK will be better placed to maintain employment levels, a competitive position in global markets and make the UK more resilient to similar disruption.

Executive Chair, Innovate UK, Dr Ian Campbell, said: “Businesses from all over the UK have answered our call rapidly to meet the challenges we face today and in the future through the power of innovation. The ideas we have seen can truly make a significant impact on society, improve the lives of individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups and enable businesses to prosper in challenging circumstances.”