UK Research and Innovation pre-announce funding opportunity to accelerate health research

A funding opportunity has been pre-announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to develop innovative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies which can be applied to health challenges.

It aims to bring researchers together across contrasting sectors and disciplines in order to change how health research is conducted.

Projects are expected to work across the nexus of the challenge spaces rather than within one area to guarantee the benefits of the investment going far into the UK AI research and innovation field. There is a total fund of £12 million available, with the maximum award being £750,000 for each organisation.

Projects must consist of cross-disciplinary teams with technical knowledge of data science, health and wellbeing and AI. There must be consideration into how the AI tools developed can act as a platform for applications in health research for the future, in areas such as infrastructure or informing wider health programmes.

UKRI explain how applicants should concentrate on how the methodologies or technology will be developed. This could include technical development, expanding the application from the technology’s initial use to include further health research, and consideration of responsible AI approaches by design.

One of the main objectives outlined in the pre-announcement is that a health challenge must be clearly tackled, such as understanding and integrating difficult determinants of health; addressing health inequalities; addressing the limitations of AI to deal with small or incomplete health datasets; acceptability of AI in health decision making; and novel approaches to experimentation.

Within this, applicants can focus on addressing potential biases, embedding trust, empathy and responsible development in AI technologies, establishing biomarkers of health, and more.

The programme of funding is open to all areas falling within the UKRI health remit where the work has the potential to contribute to wellbeing or disease outcomes; where it makes a convincing case for distinctiveness and addressing an unmet need; where it involves substantive and appropriately innovative AI approaches to tackling the challenge; and where it is cross-disciplinary and will benefit from a team-based approach.

Applicants wanting to apply for funding must submit an ‘intent to submit’ declaration between 17 January 2023 and 28 February 2023.

Read the programme in more detail here.