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NHS hopes awards will encourage innovative health technology 

5th November 2020 about a 2 minute read

Applications have opened for the second round of the AI in Health and Care Awards.

Technology companies, researchers and developers are invited to bid for funding to help develop and test their artificial intelligence and machine learning products in the NHS.

The first round of successful projects was announced in September. 

A total of 42 projects (chosen from over 500 bids) shared a total of more than £50m.

They included:

  • a phone app that could help detect early kidney disease using urine samples from diabetic patients
  • An algorithm that could replace the second human reader to assess breast cancer screening scans
  • A computer software platform using AI to detect early lung cancer.

Applications are now invited for AI products that could help meet the objectives of the NHS Long Term Plan. 

Judges are particularly interested in projects focusing on:

  • Triage
  • Screening
  • Imaging
  • Intelligent operational automation.

Indra Joshi, director of AI at NHSX, said: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning have enormous potential in healthcare. This award will help us harness the enormous range of innovation in AI so the NHS can be a world leader in the use and deployment of these cutting edge technologies. 

“Before we can roll out these new devices or processes, the award will enable us to test and evaluate them so we can make sure they deliver the expected benefits to staff and patients.”

“We don’t just want to hear about finished products. The award is also designed to support those in the early stages of development who need a bit of extra help.” Matt Whitty, chief executive, Accelerated Access Collaborative and director of innovation, research and life sciences at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The NHS AI Lab is a key part of the effort to increase the use of innovative new technologies in the health service.

The AI in Health and Care Award will distribute £140m over three years.

The award is managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Details of how to apply are available on the NIHR website  The closing date is December 8.