Microsoft plans to spend $40 million to support collaborative projects leveraging artificial intelligence for medical research and discoveries.

The five-year program, called AI for Health, will be led by John Kahan, chief data analytics officer at Microsoft, who lost his son 15 years ago to SIDS. One program partner, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, is using AI to discover the cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

“I saw firsthand, personally and professionally, how you can marry AI and medical research to advance this field,” Kahan said.

Seattle Children’s Research Institute has also started whole genome sequencing, and the AI for Health grant will help researchers take the next step to use genetic information to understand risk factors. Other AI for Health initiatives will focus on using AI to detect diabetic retinopathy to prevent blindness, stop the transmission of leprosy and enable the sharing of biomedical data to advance cancer treatments.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges, like improving the health of communities around the world,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, said.

The talent and resources required to equip health researchers with tools to deploy AI and data science is unevenly distributed, according to Microsoft. Less than 5% of the world’s AI professionals today work in health and nonprofit organizations. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement that AI “represents one of technology’s most important priorities, and healthcare is perhaps AI’s most urgent application.”

Microsoft plans to collaborate with several grantees, including BRAC, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) and the Novartis Foundation.