Alberta Innovates has introduced the “enabling better health through artificial intelligence (AI-Better Health)” program, which aims to showcase practical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) within the healthcare system. With a budget of up to $8 million, this program invites applicants to explore how AI can break down barriers and realize its benefits in Alberta’s healthcare system. Individual projects could receive funding of up to $800,000 over three years.
This initiative is part of a broader nationwide effort to identify practical uses for AI. For instance, Scale AI recently allocated $21 million to nine AI healthcare projects in Canada. Additionally, Ocean Supercluster dedicated $20 million to nine AI-integration projects related to ocean-based activities, while Lemurian Labs secured $9 million to enhance AI processing efficiency.
Alberta Innovates, a government organization in Alberta, is responsible for supporting innovation in the province through funding programs. The organization manages approximately 1,300 projects with a total portfolio value of $1.33 billion.
The AI-Better Health program’s objectives include improving healthcare by addressing technical challenges and privacy concerns associated with AI integration, as well as identifying factors related to the responsible deployment of AI in healthcare. It also aims to explore the societal and commercial implications of AI in healthcare.
Nate Glubish, Alberta’s Minister of Technology and Innovation, expressed enthusiasm for the program, noting that AI innovations have the potential to revolutionize various industries, including healthcare. The AI-Better Health program is expected to expedite the development of new technologies that strengthen the healthcare system, ensuring that every Albertan has access to world-class healthcare.
The program invites applications from academia, industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, and government entities. Funding decisions are set to be made in January 2024, with projects slated to commence by March 2024. This initiative builds on Alberta Innovates’ prior investments in AI, including a $30 million contribution to the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) in March. Amii is a non-profit institute dedicated to advancing AI and machine learning research and facilitating its adoption in various industries.