Government proposes £100 million AI investment for healthcare and life sciences

The Departments for Health and Social Care and Science, Innovation and Technology have shared a proposal for the AI Life Sciences Accelerator Mission, subject to a full business case, which would involve funding of £100 million to be invested across areas where rapid deployment of artificial intelligence is viewed to have the “greatest potential” to tackle previously incurable diseases.

The proposed investment would target opportunities to deploy AI in clinical settings across a range of conditions, along with funding AI research with the potential to create general purpose applications across various health challenges. The government suggests examples such as using AI to help harness health data to identify people at risk of dementia and related conditions, or using conversational AI to support individuals experiencing mental health difficulties.

The government states that the funding would “help us to invest in parts of the UK where the clinical needs are greatest to test and trial new technologies within the next 18 months”.

If confirmed, proposals will be invited for projects that bring together academia, industry and clinicians, with a view to collaborating to develop innovative solutions.

Michelle Donelan, secretary of state for science, innovation and technology, comments: “Safe, responsible AI will change the game for what it’s possible to do in healthcare, closing the gap between the discovery and application of innovative new therapies, diagnostic tools, and ways of working that will give clinicians more time with their patients.”

In others news around AI, we recently covered the new guidance from the World Health Organisation on the regulation of artificial intelligence for health.

In June, we covered the Department for Health and Care’s announcement of £21 million in funding for AI tech to help diagnose conditions such as cancers, strokes and heart conditions. June also saw us share the news that UKRI is investing in this space, with £54 million supporting AI advancements including two research fellowships and a consortium aiming to create a UK and international ecosystem for “responsible and trustworthy AI”.