PARIS – A new agreement between the UK and France will see both national governments sign a five-year accord to collaborate on improving digital services in their respective countries – with AI a focal point for discussions.

Addressing a bilateral conference on data and the digital economy alongside his French counterpart, Mounir Mahjoubi, Hancock confirmed at the UK-France Digital Colloque that the UK-based Alan Turing Institute will sign an agreement with the French DATAIA to bolster collaboration between cutting-edge AI companies from both countries, encourage research in areas of shared interest, and expertise-sharing.

“The UK is a digital dynamo, increasingly recognised across the world as a place where ingenuity and innovation can flourish. We are home to four in ten of Europe’s tech businesses worth more than $1 billion and London is the AI capital of Europe,” Hancock told the conference.

“France is also doing great work in this area, and these new partnerships show the strength and depth of our respective tech industries and are the first stage in us developing a closer working relationship. This will help us better serve our citizens and provide a boost for our digital economies.”

Hancock and Majoubi will also sign an accord on digital government. This will represent a commitment to extending their cooperation in the digital sector on innovation, artificial intelligence, data, and digital administration.

The Secretary of State has also confirmed the expansion of Entrepreneur First, a UK-based tech talent accelerator, with a new Paris office.

“The fundamental goal behind all our research is to build a data and AI enriched world for the benefit of all,” Alan Wilson, CEO of The Alan Turing Institute, said. “In order to do this, it is critical to forge international collaborations and share our knowledge, expertise, and ideas with other research centres around the world.”

“The Institute and DATAIA both share a vision for building research in data science and AI which crosses disciplinary boundaries and recognises the societal implications of data and algorithms. It is a pleasure to kickstart this engagement and we look forward to working with them to advance UK and French excellence in this area.”