Artificial intelligence has enormous potential for improving healthcare across all areas of the NHS and social care. NIHR currently has two routes for researchers and industry partners seeking funding for health research involving artificial intelligence.
The NIHR has two new funding streams to support applications for health and care research involving artificial intelligence (AI).
The Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award (AI Award) supports solutions addressing the strategic aims of the NHS Long Term Plan across the whole development pathway, from initial feasibility to clinical implementation. It is funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is run in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative and NHSX. Projects funded in the first round were announced in September 2020.
The £23m Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long-Term Conditions (Multimorbidity) call (AIM) supports research to spearhead the use of advanced data science and AI methods, combined with existing methodology and expertise in clinical practice, applied health and care research and social science, to systematically identify new clusters of disease and the development of conditions over the life course to develop insights into the identification and subsequent prevention of multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity) or MLTC-M.
The AI in Health and Care Award is run in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative and NHSX. It is part of the NHS Artificial Intelligence Lab announced by the Health Secretary in 2019 and will deploy £140m over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies that meet the strategic aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
The AI in Health and Care Award supports AI technologies across the spectrum of development, from initial feasibility to evaluation within clinical pathways in the NHS and social care settings, to the point that they could be nationally commissioned. Key areas of focus for Phases 3 and 4 include triage, imaging, screening and intelligent operational automation. Applications may be submitted by an SME, an NHS or social care organisation or service provider, a Higher Education Institution, Charity or Local Authority or additionally for Phases 3 and 4, Large Enterprises.
Phases 1 and 2 of the award support feasibility, development and clinical evaluation of AI technologies. Phases 3 and 4 of the award support real world testing, initial systems adoption of AI technologies with market authorisation into the NHS, evaluating the AI technology within clinical or operational pathways to determine efficacy or accuracy and clinical and economic impact.
Phases 1-2 aim to create a pipeline of products, interventions and services which are ready for wider testing and will be delivered through the well-established and robust mechanisms underpinning the i4i and SBRI Healthcare programmes, with an indicative budget of £2-7m. This early stage pipeline will be managed by the NIHR Invention for Innovation and SBRI Healthcare Programme Management Office in close collaboration with the AAC Delivery Team.
Through Phases 3 and 4, the AAC Delivery Team will facilitate initial real world testing and systems adoption of the AI technologies into the NHS and/or social care setting.
The AI Award is run as a two stage application process. Shortlisted applicants from stage 1 are invited to submit a full proposal at stage 2. Please see Competition 2 guidance for applicants and FAQs for further information.
Applications should be submitted online through the PMO Research Management System. You can download an example stage 1 application form to prepare your proposal ahead of submission. Having consulted the website and the applicant guidance, if you are still unsure if your proposal is within remit, you may complete an enquiry form with details of your enquiry and your proposed project.
The Competition 2 launch webinar and specific Phase 1-2 and 3-4 webinars can be viewed on the AI Lab Virtual Hub. Please note that you will need to request access by emailing aivirtualhub-manager@future.
The AI Award supports innovators and technologies across the spectrum of development, from concept through to initial NHS adoption and testing of the AI technology within clinical pathways. You may only apply to one phase per product.
This £23m call will generate a pipeline of data science and artificial intelligence translational research projects to understand and map clusters of MLTC-M. The call will support research collaborations and partnerships between leading academic institutions, health and care researchers, AI experts, and practitioners. This call aims to grow capacity and capability for multi-disciplinary working in MLTC-M for the benefit of patients, practitioners and the public.
NIHR has produced a Strategic Framework for MLTC-M research. This outlines what NIHR means when we talk about MLTC-M, our research priorities in this area and the actions we are putting in place to support them.
The AIM call funds programmes of research which use AI and data science methods, combined with expertise in clinical practice, applied health and care research and social science, to systematically identify or explore clusters of disease. In addition to the identification and mapping of new clusters of disease, the call seeks research to better understand the trajectories of patients with MLTC-M over time and throughout the life course, including the influence of wider determinants such as environmental, behavioural and psychosocial factors.
The funding available through this call will lead to scientific understanding which will allow researchers to start addressing key challenges in the treatment and management of MLTC-M in the health and social care system in the future. We have three primary longer-term aims that include:
In particular, we seek applications from cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional teams to develop research in this important field. A total of £20m will be allocated between two streams - larger Research Collaborations and smaller, preparatory Development Awards.
AIM Research Collaboration and Research Support Facility (RSF) are run as a two stage application process. At stage 1, an outline form needs to be completed. Shortlisted applicants are invited to submit a full proposal at stage 2.
The application process for AIM Development Awards is run in one stage.
Applications are submitted online through the Research Management System.
The AI for Health and Care award and the AIM call are national competitions with applications reviewed by a national multi-disciplinary funding panel and assessor pool comprising specialist technical, clinical and commercial experts and patient and public representatives.
Expert assessors and panel members review all applications and make funding recommendations based on the quality of applications, with support from public and expert peer reviewers.
Members of NIHR Committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes. All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.
We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the application process. If in doubt, please get in touch.
AI for multimorbidity (AIM) enquiries
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AI award enquiries
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