Canada invests $25 million in health AI research
June 20, 2018
OTTAWA – The Canadian government has launched a $24.9 million program to fund cross-disciplinary research in the area of artificial intelligence and healthcare. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is leading the effort, called the Collaborative Health Research Projects.
A competition has been launched with the goal of bridging artificial intelligence, health research and, for the first time, the social sciences and humanities.
This fresh approach to research funding will encourage greater collaboration across disciplines that will produce new medical practices and technologies. More than $24 million is on the table, of which almost $6 million is being reserved for projects that investigate the ethical, legal, and societal impacts associated with the spread of AI through the health sector.
“Canada is home to some of the world’s leading natural scientists and engineers, health researchers, social scientists, and humanities scholars. Today’s announcement empowers them to cross boundaries to address some of our most pressing issues in health,” said Kirsty Duncan (pictured), Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
“I have no doubt their teamwork will harness the power of new and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, in ways that will create jobs, strengthen the economy and, ultimately, save lives.”
The Collaborative Health Research Project program unites the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to bring cutting-edge science to the front lines of health care.
“Our Government is committed to improving the health of Canadians by leveraging Canada’s technology, research and development fields,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health.
“Our engineers and health scientists continue to push the limits of what we are capable of in our health care systems. Today, we are encouraging them to combine their efforts and unlock the power of artificial intelligence to improve health research in Canada.”
“SSHRC is pleased to be participating for the first time in this initiative, which will lead to cutting-edge knowledge about the important societal impacts of AI,” said Dr. Ted Hewitt, president, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
“CHRP is an example of the kind of interdisciplinary and collaborative research with stakeholders across all sectors that produces innovative results for Canadians, and profiles the many ways in which social sciences and humanities research addresses critical questions about our complex and challenging times.”