A gamechanging alliance of machine learning and bioscience with massive global implications for human health has been launched in Cambridge.
The University of Cambridge has unveiled a five-year agreement with AstraZeneca and GSK to fund the Cambridge Centre for AI in Medicine (CCAIM).
For the five-year duration, AstraZeneca and GSK will support five new PhD studentships per year. This program will enable the best and brightest young minds in machine learning and bioscience to partner with leaders in industry and academia, wherever they may be in the world.
CCAIM has been set up as a cutting-edge research group. Its faculty of 10 University of Cambridge researchers – in addition to world-class PhD students, currently being recruited – have united to develop AI and machine learning technologies aiming to transform clinical trials, personalised medicine and biomedical discovery.
The centre’s director is Professor Mihaela van der Schaar, a world leading researcher in machine learning and the co-director is researcher-clinician Professor Andres Floto.
The faculty also includes Dr Sarah Teichmann – head of cellular genetics at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and founder and principal leader of the Human Cell Atlas international consortium.
Bridging the gap between the disparate and complex fields of AI and medicine requires building from both sides simultaneously. CCAIM brings together a diverse coalition of leading Cambridge scientists and clinicians, with expertise in machine learning, engineering, mathematics, medicine, computer science, genetics, computational biology, biostatistics, clinical research, healthcare policy and more.
These multi-disciplinary experts from the University of Cambridge will work in close collaboration with scientists and leaders from AstraZeneca and GSK to identify critical challenges facing drug discovery and development that have the potential to be solved through cutting-edge academic research.
The centre’s research output and the implementation of its ML tools could be transformational not only for the pharmaceutical industry – including in clinical trials and drug discovery – but also for the clinical delivery of healthcare to patients. The CCAIM team already has deep research links with the NHS, and four of the centre’s members are NHS doctors.
Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, University of Cambridge, said: “The Cambridge Centre for AI in Medicine is a terrific and timely venture that builds on the strong relationships between the University of Cambridge and global leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, AstraZeneca and GSK.
“The depth and diversity of the CCAIM faculty’s expertise means it is uniquely positioned to deliver and accelerate the breakthroughs in medical science and healthcare that AI has long promised. I anticipate the centre’s impact will be nothing less than transformational.”
Jim Weatherall, VP of data science & AI, R & D, AstraZeneca, added: “We know the best science doesn’t happen in isolation which is why collaboration is essential to the way we work.
“This new centre combines world class academia with real-world industrial challenges and will help to develop cutting-edge AI to potentially transform the way we discover and develop medicines.”
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