As SCI Data, Digitalisation and AI group prepares to launch, government invests £13m in AI for health

11 August 2023 | Muriel Cozier

Government funding for AI in health comes as SCI prepares for Data, Digitalisation and AI Group launch event – Data Digitalisation and AI - what can digital do for me?

Ahead of what is being billed as the first major international summit on the safe use of AI, the UK government has announced a £13 million grant for research on AI innovation in healthcare. The funding will be shared between 22 university and National Health Service (NHS) trust projects across the UK.

Funded projects include £456,000 to the University of Surrey, which will see researchers working with radiologists to develop AI that improves the mammogram analysis process. The University of Oxford will receive £640,000 to accelerate research into a foundation AI model for clinical risk prediction, which could determine the likelihood of future health problems based on a person’s existing conditions.

UK government Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘This funding is yet another boost to help the UK lead the way in healthcare research. It comes on top of the £21 million we recently announced for [health] trusts to roll out the latest AI diagnostic tools and £123 million invested in 86 promising technologies through our AI in Health and Care Awards.’

Matt Clifford, CEO of Entrepreneur First and Chair of the Advanced Research Invention Agency (ARIA), along with Jonathan Black, Heywood Fellow at the Blavatnik School of government at the University of Oxford, have been appointed by the government to gather countries, companies and experts in AI ahead of the planned summit.

A date for the summit, which is scheduled to take place this year, is yet to be confirmed, but its focus will be on the risks of AI and how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action. The UK is ranked behind only the US and China in development of AI, a sector which is estimated to contribute £3.7 billion to the UK economy.

Last year the European Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the European Parliament released a report Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: Applications, risks, and ethical and societal impacts, which focused more specifically on ‘potential errors and patient harm, risk of bias and increased health inequalities.’ The study proposed mitigating measures and policy options to minimise these risks and maximise the benefits of medical AI.

The theme of responsible AI across the board was picked up at the Responsible AI Leadership: A Global Summit on Generative AI, held in San Francisco, US, convened by the World Economic Forum in April 2023. Attended by more than 100 opinion leaders and practitioners, discussions surrounded key recommendations for responsible development, open innovation and social progress in generative AI. A summary of the outcomes from the event was published in The Presidio Recommendations on Responsible Generative AI.

At the forthcoming launch event for SCI’s Data, Digitalisation and AI Group on 18 October, entitled Data Digitalisation and AI - what can digital do for me?, discussion will focus on case studies of successes, challenges, and opportunities arising from the implementation of digital solutions in a variety of industry settings. Much of the day will be focused on discussing best practices in implementation, the latest technology, and some of the solutions being offered.

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