Award for AI medical research returns for second year

An AI company is giving charities an opportunity to boost their medical research and solve critical challenges with its platform.

BenevolentAI, an AI company based in London, and the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) announced it will offer its BenevolentAI Award for the second year in a row. The award encourages AMRC-member charities to apply to win access to the Benevolent Platform as well as to the company’s scientific expertise, resources and network. In return, BenevolentAI will use its resources and AI platform to help the winning charity with ongoing research and solve any challenges affecting their work.

“The challenges that medical charities face in research and development are complex and incredibly time intensive,” BenevolentAI Board Director Jackie Hunter said in a prepared statement. “Already, we are able to deliver innovation and results by applying technology in partnership with our brilliant scientists at every stage - from data to drugs. Our inspiration for this Award is to extend these opportunities to charities outside of our core business objectives.”

The application period for the BenevolentAI Award opened on Thursday, Dec. 6, and will close on March 15, 2019. The awards panel judging will take place in April, and the winners will be announced in March.

“Our member charities understand that AI and machine learning can play a significant role in finding new uses for existing drugs, as well as finding novel treatments for diseases. They also know that in order to make a breakthrough they need to try different approaches,” AMRC CEO Aisling Burnand said in a prepared statement. “This award is a fantastic opportunity for one of our charities to harness the remarkable technology capabilities at Benevolent AI, to deliver better treatments for their patients. It could be a game-changer.”

Projects that use AI for medical research have received millions in funding recently. Earlier this week, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $1.2 million grant for a project aimed at restoring voluntary movement in paralyzed limbs using AI. 

Last month, the NIH awarded a total of $5 million for two projects that will use AI and big data to better understand Alzheimer's disease and dementia.