The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Award is run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). It will make £140 million available over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies which meet the strategic aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
The Award will support technologies across the spectrum of development: from initial feasibility to evaluation within the NHS. Initially, it will focus on four key areas: screening, diagnosis, decision support and improving system efficiency.
The AI Award is part of the £250 million funding given by the Department for Health and Social Care to NHSX to establish an AI Lab aimed at improving the health and lives of patients
The Award forms a key part of the AAC’s ambition to establish a globally leading testing infrastructure for innovation in the UK.
A call for applications for the Award will run at least twice a year through an open competition to identify appropriate AI technologies for support into the NHS.
The competition for the first award closed on 4 March 2020. A second call will be launched in summer this year.
AI Award competition update
We received over 530 applications across the 4 Phases for the first competition. The applications have recently been through longlisting and we are now looking into the next stages of assessment.
Alongside the product selection, we are also considering:
- Site selection: matching appropriate healthcare services to support the testing each product.
- Evaluation: ensuring appropriate evidence is collected to enable future roll-out of the AI innovation.
Note on COVID-19: We are monitoring the current situation closely and will adapt and communicate plans as and when necessary.
AI Award innovations
AI technologies may have a variety of applications in health and social care. Below are some examples:
Health Promotion and Prevention:
- Digital epidemiology and disease surveillance
- National screening programs
- Preventative advice
Diagnosis and Treatment:
- Symptoms checkers and decision support for differential diagnosis
- Risk stratification
- Prediction of deterioration
- Personalised treatments
- Optimisation of care pathways
- Identification of resource requirements
- Electronic roster system
- Natural Language Processing for administrative tasks
The Award supports AI innovators and technologies across the spectrum of development: from concept through to initial NHS adoption and testing of the AI technology within clinical pathways. Below is an explanation of the four support phases available:
The Phase 1-3 AI Awards aim to develop a pipeline of products which are ready for wider testing in later years. The Phase 1-3 AI Award will be delivered through the well-established and robust mechanisms underpinning the i4i/SBRI Healthcare programmes, with an indicative budget of £2-7 million in the first year.
Through the Phase 4 AI Award the AAC Delivery Team will facilitate initial systems adoption of the AI technologies into the NHS, with a Phase 4 AI Award budget of £5-10 million in the first year.
- Phase 1 is intended to show the technical and clinical feasibility of the proposed concept, product or service. Awards are for a maximum of £150,000 over a 6-12 month period. If the Phase 1 project is successful, companies can bid for Phase 2, subject to budget availability.
- Phase 2 is intended to develop and evaluate prototypes of demonstration units and generate early clinical safety/efficacy data. Award amounts are uncapped, funding awards are per product, typically for 12-36 months. If the Phase 2 project is successful, companies can bid for Phase 3, subject to budget availability.
- Phase 3 is intended to support first real-world testing in health and social care settings to develop evidence of efficacy and preliminary proof of effectiveness, including evidence for routes to implementation to enable more rapid adoption. Awards are uncapped, funding awards are per product, typically for 12-24 months. If the Phase 3 project is successful, companies can bid for Phase 4, subject to budget availability.
- Phase 4 is intended to identify medium stage AI technologies that have market authorisation but insufficient evidence to merit large-scale commissioning or deployment. Award amounts are uncapped, awards are per technology. The AAC Delivery Team will work with NHS sites to support their adoption of these technologies, to stress test and evaluate the AI technology within routine clinical or operational pathways to determine efficacy or accuracy, and clinical and economic impact.