The Government has earmarked £13m of investment to advance research into artificial intelligence (AI) in the healthcare sector.
The move, announced by Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, coincides with the appointment of two top experts working on leading preparations for the next major international summit on the responsible use of AI.
The funding will support 22 projects involving universities and NHS funding across the UK, with a focus on everything from semi-autonomous surgical robotics for tumor removal to predictive health analytics based on existing conditions.
One of the main recipients of the initiative is the Center for Interventional and Surgical Sciences at University College London, which will receive more than £500,000.
The project aims to develop a real-time AI “assisted decision support framework” to improve surgical outcomes, reduce post-operative complications and shorten patient recovery time.
Donelan said: “AI will revolutionize the way we live, including our healthcare system. That’s why we’re supporting the UK’s amazing innovators to save lives, push the frontline of our NHS and tackle the key health challenges of our time.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay also backed the funding: “AI is helping the NHS improve patient outcomes, with advances leading to earlier diagnoses, more effective treatments and faster recoveries.
“It is already being used across the NHS in many areas, from improving the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients to identifying those at risk of heart attack.
“This funding is another boost to help lead the way in UK health research.”
The funding is part of the UKRI Technology Missions Fund (UK Research and Innovation) announced in the Science and Technology Framework.
The UK is set to host a historic AI summit later this year that will bring together world leaders, technology companies and academics to discuss the responsible deployment of the new technology.
Matt Clifford, chief executive of Entrepreneur First and head of the Advanced Research and Innovation Agency (ARIA), and Jonathan Black, Heywood Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Governors at the University of Oxford, are leading efforts to bring leaders together. AI, technology and experts from around the world.
They will serve as representatives of the Prime Minister, coordinating efforts to ensure the summit develops a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the potential risks of AI technology.
Mr Clifford will fulfill his role as the Prime Minister’s representative in a separate role leading ARIA.
Donnellan said: “The UK has a proud history of demonstrating diplomatic leadership on the most pressing issues of the day, and Matt and Jonathan’s experience and expertise mean they are perfectly placed to lay the groundwork ahead of this year’s talks on safe and responsible AI.
“We are already a leading nation when it comes to artificial intelligence – and this summit will help cement our position as the home of secure innovation.”
Secretary of State James wisely said: “Artificial intelligence will fundamentally change every aspect of human life. As AI evolves rapidly, we need a global approach that takes advantage of the opportunities AI presents while understanding the challenges and mitigating the risks.
“No country is untouched by AI, so with the support of our two expert representatives, the UK is proud to play a leading role in the global effort to tackle AI challenges and opportunities.”
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