The London-based Wellcome Trust has announced the launch of a five-year, £75 million ($95.2 million) initiative aimed at ensuring that innovations in artificial intelligence and data technologies benefit everyone.
Over the last six months, the foundation has talked to hundreds of leading researchers across thirty countries about the opportunities AI can bring to health data — from helping to detect and diagnose disease more effectively, to speeding up drug discovery, to delivering better care. But while a significant amount of funding already is directed to AI projects, other challenges — including a lack of public trust in the technology, the complexity of health data, unrepresentative datasets, and an overall lack of data science capacity worldwide — need to be addressed for real data innovation to happen.
To that end, the foundation will build on its Understanding Patient Data effort to support more effective community engagement, understanding, and participation in health data innovation; equip health data scientists with open source tools; and provide low- and middle-income countries with the resources needed to effectively engage with the new technology. The foundation also will work to develop and expand partnerships with like-minded groups in the United Kingdom and internationally, including Health Data Research UK, the Open Data Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Tata Trust, and the African Academy of Science.
Although the foundation is not ready to award funding, it is looking to recruit someone to lead the program. For a detailed job description and information about how to apply, see the Wellcome Trust website.