Medical professional using AI/digital solution on tablet and PC

NHS seeking bids for funding from new AI solutions

Applications have opened for the second round of the NHS’ AI in Health and Care Award, providing an opportunity for technology companies, researchers and developers to bid for funding to help develop and test their AI and machine learning products within the health service safely, within a controlled environment.

The AI in Health and Care Award is managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The results of the first round of the award, which as an allotted £140m in available funding over a three-year period, was announced in September. Over 500 applications were received in that initial round, with 42 projects then selected to receive a share of £50m of funding.

Winning solutions from the first round, which are now set to undergo testing in the NHS, include a phone app which could help detect early kidney disease in urine samples of diabetic patients, an algorithm which could remove the need for the second human reader to assess breast cancer screening scans and a computer software platform which uses AI to help detect early lung cancer.

Opening applications for the second round, those managing the award are looking for the best AI products which could help meet the objectives of the NHS Long Term Plan.

In particular, applications are encouraged for Phases 3 and 4 in the following four key areas:

  • Triage
  • Screening
  • Imaging
  • Intelligent operational automation

Indra Joshi, Director of AI at NHSX, said: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning have enormous potential in healthcare. This award will help us harness the enormous range of innovation in AI so the NHS can be a world leader in the use and deployment of these cutting-edge technologies.

“Before we can roll out these new devices or processes, the award will enable us to test and evaluate them so we can make sure they deliver the expected benefits to staff and patients.

“We had a huge amount of interest in the first round of the AI in Health and Care Award and, once again we would encourage all those who have an AI tool or product they think could help the NHS to apply now.”

Matt Whitty, Chief Executive of the AAC and Director of Innovation, Research and Life Sciences at NHS England and NHS Improvement, added: “There is a huge amount of innovation and research ongoing in the field of AI at the moment and this award is an excellent opportunity for the NHS to test and deploy the best solutions available.

“We don’t just want to hear about finished products, the award is also designed to support those in the early stages of development who need a bit of extra help.”

Applications for the second round of the AI in Health and Care Award close on December 8, 2020 at 1pm.

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