A British biomedical research charity is awarding £20 million ($26 million) to disruptive projects using digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) for global health.

The Wellcome Trust, based in London, has just announced the launch of the Innovator Awards at the AIMed Europe conference on September 13th 2018.

Each project which wins the award will receive funding between £500,000 to £1 million to support their development.

artificial intelligence medicine healthcare wellcome trust sally nicholas

Sally Nicholas, who leads the Innovator Awards which usually provides £10 million in funding, said: “If we want to achieve healthcare impact with AI research then we need to start using our resources.

“Healthcare impact is all we care about: If we look at a project then we should be able to see there is some sort of likelihood of it getting to market.”

The competition is open to all ideas in any field, but the charity are particularly interested in:

  • Technologies to advance the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and delivery of services for mental health conditions.
  • Technologies to accelerate, and reduce the cost of, the drug development process including: target identification; trial design; drug repurposing
  • Affordable, scalable technologies to improve urgent and emergency care provision in low resource settings.

Projects must clearly demonstrate an understanding of the healthcare problem, including the route to patient impact and fit within the clinical pathway.

The charity states it will not fund projects data or record keeping systems and public health intervention, and won’t accept any submissions unless they are digital.

Not for profit and commercial organisations alike from anywhere in the world can apply and multi-disciplinary collaborations and applicants from outside of the life sciences are especially encouraged.

The Wellcome Trust was founded in 1936 by Sir Henry Wellcome, a medical entrepreneur, collector and philanthropist.

Funding from the Wellcome Trust supports 14,000 people in more than 70 countries and they aim to spend £5 billion in the next five years to fund healthcare innovations.

Their latest innovator awards will support AI and digital health initiatives for up to two years.

Calls open on the 1st of October 2018, and the application deadline will be 3rd December.

A decision will be reached by March 2019.

Make sure to subscribe to AIMed for further updates on how this progresses.