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AI and Digital Twin Initiative Tackles Climate and Biodiversity Crisis

The Alan Turing Institute is spearheading a UK-wide initiative to develop innovative AI and digital twin technologies aimed at tackling environmental and sustainability issues.

This ambitious programme, supported by a £5 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will focus on four key environmental and sustainability missions.


These include automating biodiversity monitoring to aid nature's recovery, providing localised environmental forecasts to lessen the impacts of climate change, optimising infrastructure for the sustainable use of natural resources, and modelling interventions for sustainable urban and regional development towards a net-zero future.


A diverse coalition of UK leaders and experts in AI, environmental science, sustainability, and policy will collaborate to refine these missions and create a five-year national strategy.


Dr. Scott Hosking, a senior research fellow at The Alan Turing Institute and the British Antarctic Survey, emphasised the urgency of developing and deploying scalable solutions to reverse the biodiversity and climate crisis. He highlighted the critical role of AI and digital twin technology in merging various environmental data sources, from satellite to surface sensors, to inform decision-making and enable effective action.


The programme will be divided into several workstreams, including stakeholder mapping and engagement to develop and launch the environmental and sustainability missions. Other workstreams involve scaling up environmental research from Turing's AI for Science and Government programme, developing digital twins for controlled environment agriculture, and establishing a national capability in data-driven weather prediction informed by physics.


This initiative will also involve collaboration with national laboratories such as the British Antarctic Survey, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, National Oceanography Centre, UK Met Office, and Rothamsted Research. This comprehensive approach aims to augment collective understanding and effectively address the UK's environmental and sustainability challenges.


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