Creating a network of digital pathology, imaging and AI centres

Key Features

Up to £50 million is available to establish centres of excellence in digital pathology and/or medical imaging with artificial intelligence (AI).

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £50 million

Opens: 6th Jun 2018

Closes: 1st Aug 2018

! This scheme is now closed


As part of the Industry Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) in data to early diagnosis and precision medicine, Innovate UK will invest up to £50 million. This is to establish a network of 5 or 6 centres of excellence across the UK, in digital pathology and/or medical imaging including radiology.

The centres must use digital systems and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve diagnosis and deliver precision treatments.

As radiology and medical imaging is already digitised, bids in this area should look for significant added value from digital systems, enhanced analytics and AI.


Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of centres across the UK. They will provide a framework for centres to work together. The aim is to maximise the impact of this investment, for the benefit of industry, healthcare providers, patients, researchers and the UK economy. Centres must commit to working with one another, and with the broader UK infrastructure, to address common themes such as:

  • standardisation
  • data sharing
  • interoperability
  • regulation, especially of artificial intelligence
  • scale-up

They are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • will support access by investigators (clinical and non-clinical) outside the proposed centres
  • consider how their proposed centre will support micro, small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • use large scale, well archived and annotated images in their exemplar projects
  • illustrate how the centre will support future links between digital image analyses and other forms of diagnostic information to achieve new medical insights. For example, this can be done by linking data from digital pathology to data from genetics programmes, to create unique and deeply informative datasets
  • consider the social and behavioural science and health economics around adoption and change management


  • Innovate UK will not fund significant building work – please contact Innovate UK for advice if your project includes any building work.
  • Centres which are purely virtual will not be funded.
  • Programmes that tie the UK into working with a single vendor will not be funded.


To be eligible for funding you must be:

  • an NHS Trust (or equivalent in the Devolved Administrations)
  • NHS England, NHS Scotland, NHS Wales or Health and Social Care Northern Ireland
  • a hospital
  • an Academic Health Science Network (AHSN)
  • a university or other research organisation
  • a charity
  • a UK based business of any size
  • carry out your programme work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results for the benefit of the UK

Programmes must be collaborative and at least 2 collaborators must apply for grant.


Innovate UK will invest up to £50 million in a network of 5 or 6 centres across the UK. The maximum grant available per application is up to £10 million. This maximum does not increase for multicentre bids.

Of the up to £50 million investment available, Innovate UK anticipate investing around £30 million in digital pathology and around £20 million in radiology/in-vivo imaging. This will not be absolute as bids may address both. This is encouraged where it makes sense to do so.

Innovate UK anticipate that most projects will be industrial research, although they will fund experimental development.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Find out more here.