The UK government has unveiled plans for five new AI centres of excellence across the country in an attempt to boost medical technology R&D.
The five new centres will be based at universities and NHS facilities in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Oxford, and Coventry,
Doctors, businesses, and academics will use AI to develop products that improve and speed up diagnoses of diseases, such as detecting abnormalities that could lead to cancer.
Products developed will offer more automated and personalised treatment for patients, freeing up doctors to spend more time caring for patients.
The centres will also develop more intelligent analysis of medical imaging, improving decision-making in the interests of patients, and give an investment boost for large-scale genomics.
Companies involved in the centres – which will be functional some time during 2019 – include GE Healthcare, Siemens, and Philips.
AI Centres to Help Save Lives
The London centre will use AI for medical imaging and related clinical data for faster diagnosis and automating processes.
Glasgow’s I-CARD (Industrial Centre for AI Research in Digital Diagnostics) will involve SMBs and healthcare professionals to “answer clinical questions”.
National Consortium of Intelligent Medical Imaging in Oxford will research clinical imaging for personalised care, while the Leeds centre will work in digital pathology research.
Lastly, the Coventry centre will use NHS pathology data to attempt to drive economic growth in health-related AI.
UK Research and Innovation chief executive professor Mark Walport said: “The centres announced today bring together the teams that will develop artificial intelligence tools that can analyse medical images varying from x-rays to microscopic sections from tissue biopsies.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added that AI “will play a crucial role in the future of the NHS”.
“As part of our long-term plan, we will transform the NHS into an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation that allows technology to flourish and evolve,” Hancock said.
“We need to embrace [AI] by introducing systems which can speed up diagnoses, improve patient outcomes, make every pound go further, and give clinicians more time with their patients.”
The centres will be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which aims to strengthen the UK’s science and business R&D.
In its AI sector policy paper released earlier this year, government said that creating an economy that harnesses AI and big data “is one of the great opportunities of our age”.
The paper outlined £0.95 billion in funding for AI initiatives, including £250 million for connected and autonomous vehicles.
In the recent Budget announcement, £1.6 billion was allocated for new investments to support the UK’s modern industrial strategy.