Technology companies, researchers and developers are being encouraged to bid for funding in the next round of the AI in Health and Care Award.

Applications for the second round of the award have opened today (3 November) with money available to help develop and test artificial intelligence and machine learning products safely in the NHS.

The second round is looking for AI products that could help meet the objectives of the NHS Long Term plan.

In particular, applications are encouraged for Phases 3 and 4 in the following areas:

  • Triage
  • Screening
  • Imaging
  • Intelligent operational automation

Indra Joshi, director of AI at NHSX, said: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning have enormous potential in healthcare. This award will help us harness the enormous range of innovation in AI so the NHS can be a world leader in the use and deployment of these cutting edge technologies.

“Before we can roll out these new devices or processes, the award will enable us to test and evaluate them so we can make sure they deliver the expected benefits to staff and patients.

“We had a huge amount of interest in the first round of the AI in Health and Care Award and, once again we would encourage all those who have an AI tool or product they think could help the NHS to apply now.”

In September the results of the first round were announced, with more than 500 applications paired down to 42 projects sharing over £50m. The award is managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

First round winners set to be tested in the NHS include a phone app that could help detect early kidney disease in urine samples of diabetic patients, an algorithm that could remove the need for the second human reader to assess breast cancer screening scans, and a computer software platform that uses AI to help detect early lung cancer.

Matt Whitty, chief executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative and director of innovation, research and life sciences at NHS England and NHS Improvement, added: “There is a huge amount of innovation and research ongoing in the field of AI at the moment and this award is an excellent opportunity for the NHS to test and deploy the best solutions available.

“We don’t just want to hear about finished products, the award is also designed to support those in the early stages of development who need a bit of extra help.”

The AI in Health and Care Award will distribute £140m over three years, with the second round closing at 1pm on 8 December.

You can apply for the Award here.