Artificial Intelligence (AI) funding streams

A list of the funding available for AI projects in health and care

This page provides information on the funding streams available for AI-related projects in the health and social care sector in the UK.

AI in Health and Care Award (NHSX/AAC/NIHR) - £140 million

The AI in Health and Care Award is making £140 million available over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of technologies most likely to meet the aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Four levels of award are available to support AI solutions from initial feasibility to evaluation within NHS and social care settings.

British Heart Foundation – National Cardiovascular Data Science Centre - £10 million

The BHF Data Science Centre was launched in 2019 alongside Health Data Research UK (HDRUK). The centre will work in partnership with patients, the public, NHS, researchers and clinicians to promote the safe and ethical use of data for research into the causes, prevention and treatment of all diseases of the heart and circulation.

Cancer Grand Challenges (CRUK & NCI) - £20 million

The Cancer Grand Challenges is founded by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute. They previously ran an AI-focused challenge with 9 challenge areas in 2017.

Cancer Research UK – Early Detection and Diagnosis Programme Award - £2.5 million

The Early Detection and Diagnosis Programme Award funds long-term, integrated and renewable programmes of exceptional science to transform how and when early cancers and pre-cancerous states are diagnosed.

Diagnostic Centres of Excellence (BEIS/UKRI) - £50 million

The Diagnostic Centres for Excellence are funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which invested £50 million through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to establish 5 digital pathology and imaging AI Centres of Excellence. The aim is to develop AI to diagnose disease. The 3 centres set to receive a share of the funding, based in Coventry, Leeds and London, will deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS trusts, benefiting 26.5 million patients across England.

European Research Council – ERC grants

The EU aims to increase investment in AI - public and private combined. ERC grants, as well as the creation of AI-focused research centres in EU countries, support Europe's research institutes, which are global leaders in AI research.

The Industrial Centre for AI Research in digital Diagnostics (iCAIRD) in Scotland - £15 million

iCAIRD was awarded £10 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund by Innovate UK, while partner companies Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd (radiology) and Royal Philips (digital pathology) are collectively providing £5 million of additional supportive funding. This brings together a pan-Scotland collaboration of 15 partners from across industry, the NHS, and academia. One of the eligible funding options for iCAIRD-partnered projects is the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

Innovate UK Smart grants - £25 million

Innovate UK’s Smart grant is an ‘open grant funding’ programme. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million. All proposals must be business focused. Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as, but not exclusively: the arts, design and media creative industries, science or engineering.

NIHR AI for Multiple Long-Term Conditions (multimorbidity) call (AIM) - £23 million

This National Institute for Health Research call aims to grow capacity and capability for multi-disciplinary working in multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity) for the benefit of patients, practitioners and the public. Visit our AI for Multiple long-term conditions (AIM) programme webpage for more information.

NIHR i4i Award - £flexible

The NIHR i4i Award has 3 funding streams: product development, connect and challenge. Translational research scheme aimed at de-risking early-to-late stage medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use.

Prostate Cancer UK - Research Innovation Awards

The Research Innovation Awards fund both fundamental and clinical research (and all stages in between).

The award will also consider applications that bring innovative ideas from other cancer types and other diseases to be tested or translated for prostate cancer and we encourage applicants to build teams that include experts from other disciplines and other countries where that will improve the project.

Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) Healthcare Cancer programme

The SBRI Cancer programme is looking to implement solutions in late-stage development (ready for real world implementation and evaluation). The programme is currently running competition 1 and is seeking to run competition 2 and competition 3 in the financial year 2022/23 and 2023/24, respectively. See a list of SBRI open competitions.

The competitions are currently focused on:

  • early detection and diagnosis of cancer
  • diagnostic efficiency of cancer services.

Companies, NHS trusts, and Cancer Alliances are invited to bid for funding. Where possible, Cancer Alliances should be co-applicants or partners of the bids. Bids are assessed by a panel of technical, business and clinical experts and the most promising ideas are selected for funding.

SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England and NHS Improvement funded programme.

Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) Healthcare competition

SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England and NHS Improvement funded programme supported by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and managed by LGC Group. The aim of the programme is to:

  • improve patient care
  • increase efficiency in the NHS
  • enable the NHS to access new innovations through research and development that solve identified healthcare challenges and unmet need
  • bring economic value and wealth creation opportunity to the UK economy

SBRI Healthcare competitions are open to single companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities, which are invited to bid for funding to develop solutions for specific health needs. The programme is based on a phased approach (subject to budget availability):

  • Phase 1 is intended to show the technical feasibility of the proposed concept.
  • Phase 2 is intended to develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstration units from the more promising technologies in phase 1.

Bids are assessed by a panel of technical, business and clinical experts and the most promising ideas are selected for funding.

See a list of SBRI open competitions.

Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships (UKRI, BEIS, Office of AI and the Alan Turing Institute) - £20 million

The Turing AI Fellowships are delivered through UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), in partnership with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Office for AI and The Alan Turing Institute. National cohort management will be led by UKRI, in partnership with the Office for AI and the Turing.

Wellcome Trust – Innovator Awards - up to £750,000

The Wellcome Trust Innovator Awards are open to researchers who are developing healthcare innovations that could have a major and measurable impact on human health. Individuals and teams from not-for-profit and commercial organisations can apply.