An Enigma codebreaker like the one developed by Alan Turing. Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty

Seeking to play in a global technology race dominated by the U.S. and China, the U.K. says it will pay for about 1,200 students to earn AI master's and PhDs in its universities, and fund the salaries of 3 to 5 more to join the nation's top AI lab.

The big picture: Given the paucity of AI talent, 1,200 is a highly ambitious target, a number that, if fully realized, could go far toward making the U.K. competitive in the global race.

  • The U.K.'s top universities and several high-profile companies have kept it in the running alongside the U.S. and China. But many U.K.-trained researchers end up working for American tech giants, such as Google's DeepMind.
  • "Well known Big Tech companies have been paying high salaries to attract people out of academia," says Adrian Weller, director of the AI program at the Alan Turing Institute, the U.K.'s national institute for data science and AI. "This is an attempt to redress the balance."

By the numbers:

  • The U.K. government says it will pay up to £110 million — about $144 million — for the training programs, and that private companies will chip in millions more.
  • The money will fund the education of 1,000 PhD students, and up to 200 master's students.
  • The Turing Institute will pay salaries of up to $114,000 for top academic researchers. This is a far cry from the hundreds of thousands in annual salary paid by big companies, and slightly lower than tenured faculty jobs in academia.

Go deeper: Today's announcement is part of the U.K.'s national AI plan, announced last year, which includes the equivalent of $1.3 billion in funding.

Go deeper

Virtual Emmys address chaotic year for American TV and society

Emmy Host Jimmy Kimmel during rehearsals Friday for the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Emmy Awards Sunday night addressed the major U.S. issues this year — including the protests on systemic racism and police brutality, the wildfires engulfing parts of the West Coast, the census, the pandemic, essential works and the election.

Why it matters: Award shows have always addressed wider cultural issues, but this year — amid unprecedented stress and uncertainty — that trend has accelerated.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 30,919,638 — Total deaths: 959,332— Total recoveries: 21,152,996Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30p.m. ET: 6,799,141 — Total deaths: 199,474 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — 7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Arrest over letter to Trump containing poison ricin

President Trump returning to the White House from Minnesota on Sept. 18. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A suspect was arrested for allegedly "sending a suspicious letter" after law enforcement agents intercepted an envelope addressed to President Trump containing the poison ricin, the FBI confirmed in an emailed statement to Axios Sunday.

Details: The suspect, a woman, was arrested while trying to enter New York from Canada, law enforcement forces said.