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 is open to any artificial intelligence (AI) technology. There are four Phases you can apply to, which support innovations at different stages of development. While any technology that helps meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan will be considered, for Phases 3 and 4 we particularly encourage applications in the following focus areas to apply: triage, imaging, screening, and intelligent operational automation.

Phases of the Award

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.

Through the Phase 4 AI Award the AAC Delivery Team will facilitate initial systems adoption of the AI technologies into the NHS.

  • 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. Must be collaborative.
  • 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. Must include a collaboration with an NHS organisation.
  • 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.

(Larger companies, and those based outside the UK, can only apply to phases 3 and 4, though partners outside the UK can be involved in phases 1 & 2.)

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
  • Self-management

Diagnosis and Treatment:

  • Symptoms checkers and decision support for differential diagnosis
  • Risk stratification
  • Prediction of deterioration
  • Personalised treatments

System Efficiency:

  • Optimisation of care pathways
  • Identification of resource requirements
  • Electronic roster system
  • Natural Language Processing for administrative tasks

NHS AI Virtual Hub

This new community of practice is the central place to find information and connect with others about the Award. The hub is hosted on the FutureNHS platform.

Find out more and register for the Hub here.

For further information and enquiries please contact enquiries@ai-award.info or take a look at the frequently asked questions.