News round-up (26 February)

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26th February 2021 about a 3 minute read
This week has been all about the roadmap out of lockdown. But meanwhile, in other news, here are some of the stories that also caught our eye...

Shaping health and care services for the post-COVID reset

The AHSN Network has published a discussion paper entitled Rapid evaluation of health and care services – planning a sustainable solution for the post-COVID reset

The report uses learning from the pandemic, and sets out recommendations on how to prioritise and resource rapid service evaluations to enable more efficient and effective scale-up of health and care innovations, both regionally and nationally.

GCHQ to use AI to tackle child sex abuse, disinformation and trafficking

GCHQ has revealed how its analysts could use AI to protect the UK from a variety of threats from state-backed disinformation campaigns to cyber attacks.

Ethics of AI: Pioneering a New National Security explains why the technology – enabling problem-solving at scale and speed – will be at the heart of efforts keep the country safe in an increasingly complex world.

The paper also details how the government will ensure AI is used fairly and transparently, applying existing tests of necessity and proportionality. 

This includes establishing an AI ethical code of practice to recruiting more diverse talent to help develop and govern the use of AI.

New directory highlights British Innovators with digital health solutions

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has come up with a Digital Health Playbook called ‘The First 100.’

DIT has chosen 100 UK companies who were judged on a range of criteria including:

  • how committed they were to export and international expansion
  • responsiveness 
  • ethics and values 
  • track-record of working collaboratively with Healthcare UK
  • the ‘global uniqueness’ of their innovation
  • how well they represent the UK direction in digital health, particularly with the NHS.

The report will be updated twice a year. To put forward a UK company for consideration email

Rebuilding a resilient Britain

The government has published a collection of evidence to support policy development.

The ‘Rebuilding a Resilient Britain’ programme builds on work to develop government science capability and the external evidence base to support policy development.

It examines existing departmental Areas of Research Interest questions to identify cross-cutting themes, and to provide a platform for engagement between government departments and academics to consider medium and long-term questions.

A summary report of the findings of the programme provides evidence to address these questions.

Scottish vaccine roll-out working, data suggests

Vaccination has been linked to a substantial reduction in the risk of Covid-19 admissions to Scotland’s hospitals, landmark research by the University of Edinburgh suggests.

The study is the first to describe across an entire country the effect of the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs in the community on preventing severe illness resulting in hospitalisation.

Previous results about vaccine efficacy have come from clinical trials.

Mayor’s Resilience Fund issues challenge to innovators

The Resilience Fund is the Mayor of London’s £1million challenge fund offering incentives to innovators to address social issues facing the capital. 

It also aims to help London emerge stronger from COVID-19 and ensure the capital is prepared for future disruptive challenges.

The Fund calls on innovators – tech SMEs, engineers, social enterprises and others – to develop solutions to some of London’s key challenges.

Each challenge is sponsored by a Resilience Partner, including local authorities, public agencies, business improvement districts and charities, who will work with the innovator to test and implement their technologies and ideas.