The Australian Government is investing AU$19 million in “transformative medical research projects” using game-changing applied artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, to improve the ways we prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions.
The Government is providing more than AU$8 million for two projects that will use AI to improve mental health treatments for Australians.
The University of Sydney will receive more than AU$3 million to improve youth mental health care through the development of new tools to guide clinical decisions about the appropriate interventions and treatments for individuals presenting for care.
This project will use AI to test and quantify the impacts of youth mental health interventions and as a result support the development of an ethical clinical decision-support tool that identifies how to target assessment and interventions to optimise outcomes for individuals presenting for mental health care.
The University of New South Wales will receive almost AU$5 million to use AI to understand and optimise the treatments for stress, anxiety, and depression.
AI will be used to understand which interventions, or components of therapies provide the vital, active ingredients, and why they are more effective for some patients and not others.
The aim of this project is to use AI to shorten the trial period where some people are provided with non‑optimal treatments for their conditions and thus improving their health, social and economic wellbeing.
AI is critical to the future of health care, with funding being dispersed over three years from financial year 2019–20.
The funding from the Government’s AU$20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Applied Artificial Intelligence Research in Health grant opportunity has the potential to lead to significant health benefits for Australians including:
- Improved efficiency of research
- More informed clinical decision-making
- New approaches for health care delivery, and
- Empowering people to help manage their health
Professor Mingguang He — who leads the team from the Centre for Eye Research Australia and University of Melbourne — has received AU$4,988,487 funding over three years from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to develop an integrated AI eye screening system.
The Professor welcomed the support of the MRFF which will fund a team including medical researchers, technical developers, industry partners and consumer organisations to translate AI technology into innovative health solutions.
Professor He’s team is working on an AI system, to be developed in partnership with the Australian company Eyetelligence Pty Ltd, and the Monash eResearch Centre — which will undertake technology and algorithm development.
“This project will benefit 1.3 million Australians with diabetes by reducing their risk of developing sight-threatening complications and help tackle cardiovascular diseases that affects about one in five Australians and in 2017 accounted for 27 per cent of Australia’s deaths, ‘’ he said.