Scottish university chosen as base for £15m AI health research centre

Glasgow will be home to a £15.8 million artificial intelligence (AI) health research centre as part of the UK government's plans to utilise AI in the healthcare sector.

The University of Glasgow's Dame Anna Dominiczak called the £15m iCaird 'a great coup for Scotland'. Picture: TSPL

In a major boost for Scotland’s life sciences sector, the Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics, to be known as iCaird, will examine how AI can enable better patient diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.

Located at the University of Glasgow’s Clinical Innovation Zone at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, the centre will bring together a pan-Scotland collaboration of 15 partners from across industry, academia and the NHS.

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UK Research and Innovation will invest £10m in iCaird as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, while partner companies in the University of Glasgow-led Scotland consortium, which includes Canon Medical Research Europe and Philips, will provide more than £5m of additional funding.

It is predicted that iCaird will create skilled jobs centred around AI and digital technology in healthcare.

The Scottish centre will be one of five medical technology sites across the UK, along with Leeds, Oxford, Coventry, and London, which are expected to open during the next year.

Dame Anna Dominiczak, vice principal and head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said: “The formation of iCaird is a great coup for Scotland and its people, and further positions Scotland’s ability to be a global leader in precision medicine.

“The iCaird epitomises our ‘triple helix’ approach to healthcare innovation and precision medicine by developing research and innovation concurrently in industry, the NHS and academia.

“By locating at the Clinical Innovation Zone at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, alongside partners in industry and the NHS, iCaird will also drive open innovation and encourage further industry collaborations.”

Quentin Cole, UK government and health industries leader at PwC, said: “We welcome today’s announcement as it recognises the huge opportunity in AI to transform healthcare delivery.

“PwC’s recent report AI in healthcare showed that over half of young people were willing to use AI in their care. If just a proportion of the UK population start to use more services delivered through technology it could begin to free up both staff and resources.”

Business secretary Greg Clark added: “AI has the potential to revolutionise healthcare and improve lives for the better.

“The innovation at these new centres will help diagnose disease earlier to give people more options when it comes to their treatment, and make reporting more efficient, freeing up time for our much-admired NHS staff to spend on direct patient care.”