Transformation Directorate

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.

UK Research and Innovation

Find all the latest funding opportunities from UK Research and Innovation, which supports academic disciplines and industrial areas in medical and biological sciences.

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.

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.

Funding for early stage development of new healthcare interventions - Medical Research Council

The Medical Research Council is making funding available to generate critical preliminary data to build confidence in the development strategy for a new medicine, repurposed medicine, medical device, diagnostic test, or other medical intervention development.

The idea for a new product that can improve human health should have already been conceived and supported by other funding. This should be utilised to produce the critical preliminary data needed to support the onward development of the product.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme

The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme funds research about the clinical and cost-related impact of healthcare treatments and tests, for those who plan, provide or receive care from NHS, and social care services.

HTA research is undertaken where some evidence already exists to show that a technology can be effective, and this needs to be compared to the current standard intervention to see which works best.

Research can evaluate any intervention used in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of disease, provided the study outcomes lead to findings that have the potential to be of direct benefit to NHS patients.

The researcher-led workstream offers researchers the opportunity to submit proposals on topics or research questions within the programme’s remit. The commissioned workstream invites applications in response to calls for research on specific questions, which have been identified and prioritised for their importance to the NHS and patients. Proposals may include primary research, evidence synthesis, or feasibility and pilot studies, when requested within the commissioning brief.

Horizon Europe - European Commission

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion. Running from 2021-2027, there are 3 programme pillars and within pillar 2 there are 6 clusters, including health.

Key to any bids is a significant opportunity to form collaborations, build multinational partners and collaborate. Usually open to scientists, researchers and businesses, opportunities include:

  • Computational models for new patient stratification strategies
  • Trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI) tools to predict the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases and/or their progression
  • New methods for the effective use of real-world data and/or synthetic data in regulatory decision-making and/or in health technology assessment.
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).

Applications can be submitted on their website.

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.

Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) Healthcare competition

SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England 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.