Scotland to Create £15m AI Health Research Centre

AI in Medicine

Scotland is to get a £15.8 million artificial intelligence centre to help the country innovate and transform its healthcare system and deliver better outcomes for patients. 

The purpose of the new Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics ( iCAIRD) is to enable better patient diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. The centre will bring together a pan-Scotland collaboration of 15 partners from across academia, the NHS and industry.

Later today, Greg Clark the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is due to announce that the UK Research and Innovation organisation will invest £10 million in iCAIRD as part of the Industrial Challenge Fund.

In addition, more than £5m will be provided by partner companies in the University of Glasgow-led pan Scotland consortium, which includes Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd and Philips, along with six SMEs.

iCAIRD will be a Scottish centre of excellence with a special focus on the application of AI in digital diagnostics, which will ultimately enable better and earlier diagnosis resulting in more effective treatment for patients. It is hoped that the centre will create new jobs in the field of AI and digital technology in healthcare.

Centre to Foster Greater Collaboration to Benefit Patients

Based at the University of Glasgow’s Clinical Innovation Zone at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, the centre will bring together teams from Aberdeen, St Andrews, and Edinburgh in a collaborative effort to join-up academic and commercial technology development.

The research and work undertaken at iCAIRD will focus on the development of solutions for more accurate and rapid treatment of stroke, colon cancer, gynecological disease. It will also work on developing a partly automated mammogram analysis for breast cancer screening and the technology for faster and more accurate expert x-ray reading.

Utilising the capabilities of modern computers to process vast amounts of data gathered in NHS healthcare clinics, the centre will enable clinicians, health planners and industry to tackle and solve healthcare challenges more efficiently, in a way that protects the patients’ privacy. iCAIRD will also work to integrate with Health Data Research UK and the National Archiving Communication System for radiology.

Key iCAIRD Priorities Include:

  • Create infrastructure to develop and apply AI in digital diagnostics, pathology and radiology.
  • Fast-track digitisation of Scottish NHS pathology data to create the largest fully digital pathology laboratory network in Europe.
  •  Work with partner Canon to develop a network of Safe-Haven Artificial Intelligence Platforms, within existing NHS data ‘safe-havens’, first in Glasgow and then Aberdeen, eventually scaling nationwide, thus allowing crucially important research whilst ensuring protection of patients’ personal data.
  • Work with partner Philips to establish an HDRUK national pathology image archive of anonymised disease cases within the National Data Safe Haven that can be used to train computers to augment and improve on current practice
  • Work with industry to use SHAIP tool to apply and validate AI in stroke medicine, chest x-ray triage and mammogram interpretation, and apply AI to colon cancer data and gynecological pathology.

iCAIRD to Help Modernise NHS Scotland

Professor David Harrison, Principal Investigator for the Project, said: “I am delighted that iCAIRD has been awarded £10m from Innovate UK. With our pan-Scotland approach, we will build on existing strengths and deploy AI within NHS Scotland to transform diagnostics and healthcare in Scotland to improve outcomes for patients.

“This is a genuine collaboration between researchers from Scottish Universities, the NHS, and industry partners who are also contributing large sums to enable this project to be a success. Our aim is to transform digital diagnostic healthcare in Scotland. in order to benefit patients and make processes more streamlined and modern for the NHS.”

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said: “The formation of iCAIRD is a great coup for Scotland and its people, and further positions Scotland’s ability to be a global leader in Precision Medicine. iCAIRD epitomises our ‘triple helix’ approach to healthcare innovation and Precision Medicine by developing research and innovation concurrently in industry, the NHS and academia.”



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