Aberdeen part of £15m new Artificial Intelligence centre for Scotland

Aberdeen part of £15m new Artificial Intelligence centre for Scotland

Scotland is to have its own £15.8m artificial intelligence health research centre, which promises to enable better patient diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, with Aberdeen playing a key role.

The Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics, to be known as iCAIRD, brings together a pan-Scotland collaboration of 15 partners from across academia, the NHS, and industry.

Today (Tuesday 6 November), Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will announce that UK Research and Innovation will invest £10million in iCAIRD as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

iCAIRD will be a Scottish centre of excellence and focus on the application of AI in digital diagnostics, ultimately enabling better and earlier diagnosis and more efficient treatment for patients. It is also predicted that iCAIRD will create new jobs centred around AI and digital technology in healthcare. 

Centred at the University of Glasgow’s Clinical Innovation Zone at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, iCAIRD bring together teams across Scotland – in Aberdeen, St Andrews and Edinburgh – to enable joined-up academic and commercial technology development, alongside academic researchers locally and nationally.

The centre’s work will deliver significant benefits for patients through the development of solutions for more rapid treatment for stroke; expert chest x-ray reading; rapid and more accurate diagnosis in gynaecological disease and colon cancer; and partly automated mammogram analysis for breast cancer screening.

Making use of the capability of modern computers to process the large amounts of data gathered in NHS healthcare clinics, iCAIRD will also allow clinicians, health planners and industry to work together and ultimately solve healthcare challenges more quickly and efficiently, and in a way that completely protects patients’ identities.

Professor Corri Black, Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science said:"iCAIRD represents a fantastic opportunity for health and care innovation. I am delighted that University of Aberdeen, in partnership with NHS Grampian, will be a core site within this Scottish collaboration. iCAIRD offers huge benefits for patients, clinical staff, researchers and industry,  working together to improve patient care through innovation in diagnostics."

Professor David Harrison, Principal Investigator for the project, based in St Andrews but with visiting professorships in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, 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 researches 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.”

Jeane Freeman, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, said: “Innovation and technology is an absolutely essential part of our efforts to get quicker and more accurate diagnosis, improved treatment and better outcomes for patients.

This successful bid is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work from many in the NHS, including NHS Grampian and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and the Scottish Government’s own Chief Scientist Office. It will complement some of the other ongoing work in Scotland in the field of health technology and life sciences, and I look forward to seeing some of the results and the benefits they will bring to patients.”

Founding iCAIRD partners are (in alphabetical order): Bering Ltd, Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd, Cytosystems Ltd, DeepCognito Ltd, Glencoe Software, HDRUK Scotland and Scotland’s National and Regional Safe Havens, Intersystems, Kheiron Medical Technology, NHS Grampian, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS National Services Scotland, NVidia, Philips, University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow (hub site of iCAIRD) and University of St Andrews.