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New £100 million fund to capitalise on AI’s game-changing potential in life sciences and healthcare

By November 3, 2023No Comments

A new mission announced by the Prime Minister will accelerate the use of AI in life sciences to tackle the biggest health challenges of our generation.

In a speech on Thursday, the Prime Minister announced that a £100 million in new government investment will be targeted towards areas where rapid deployment of AI has the greatest potential to create transformational breakthroughs in treatments for previously incurable diseases. The AI Life Sciences Accelerator Mission will capitalise on the UK’s unique strengths in secure health data and cutting-edge AI.

The Life Sciences Vision encompasses 8 critical healthcare missions that government, industry, the NHS, academia and medical research charities will work together on at speed to solve – from cancer treatment to tackling dementia.

The £100 million will help drive forward this work by exploring how AI could address these conditions, which have some of the highest mortality and morbidity.

For example, AI could further the development of novel precision treatments for dementia. This new government funding for AI will help us harness the UK’s world-class health data to quickly identify those at risk of dementia and related conditions, ensure that the right patients are taking part in the right trials at the right time to develop new treatments effectively, and give us better data on how well new therapies work.

This funding will 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. Over the next 5 years, we will transform mental health research through developing world-class data infrastructure to improve the lives of those living with mental health conditions.

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan said:

‘This £100 million Mission will bring the UK’s unique strengths in secure health data and cutting-edge AI to bear on some of the most pressing health challenges facing the society.

‘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.’

Building on the success of partnerships already using AI in areas like identifying eye diseases, industry, academia and clinicians will be brought together to drive forward novel AI research into earlier diagnosis and faster drug discovery.

The government will invite proposals bringing together academia, industry and clinicians to develop innovative solutions.

This funding will target opportunities to deploy AI in clinical settings and improve health outcomes across a range of conditions. It will also look to fund novel AI research which has the potential to create general purpose applications across a range of health challenges – freeing up clinicians to spend more time with their patients.

This supports work the government is already doing across key disease areas. Using AI to tackle dementia, for example, builds on our commitment to double dementia research funding by 2024, reaching a total of £160 million a year.