The University of Liverpool has inaugurated the Civic Health Innovation Lab (CHIL), an innovation lab designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among health and technology experts to drive advancements in healthcare and wellbeing. This lab aims to create a secure data environment where researchers can tackle local and global health challenges by developing new artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven solutions.
Collaborative research for health technology advancements
CHIL, led by Professor Iain Buchan, aspires to become a hub for international health technology research and innovation in the North West of England. The center will bring together scientists, engineers, healthcare professionals, and Liverpool City Region residents with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Their collective efforts will focus on addressing global health issues requiring data science and engineering to gain insights into preventing, treating, and understanding various conditions affecting individuals and populations.
The research undertaken at CHIL builds on Liverpool’s existing strengths in infection control, medicines, public health, and emerging research areas, particularly in mental health in collaboration with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. These areas share common challenges of complexity and inequality, necessitating comprehensive data insights to grasp the entire healthcare system.
A multidisciplinary approach to healthcare innovation
Professor Buchan, the W.H. Duncan Chair in Public Health Systems and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation at the University of Liverpool, emphasized the importance of CHIL’s collaborative environment. He stated, “We have created an environment to fuse different kinds of expertise in creating and evaluating data-intensive solutions to some of society’s most challenging health problems.”
The lab’s location at the Liverpool Science Park strategically facilitates collaboration, partnership working, and team innovation. The facility has breakout spaces, dedicated collaboration areas, and a secure NHS data and analytics section designed to inspire groundbreaking solutions. Furthermore, CHIL provides a platform for local and emerging academic talent to work alongside international researchers.
Promoting civic approaches to data and AI innovation
Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health & Care Research (NIHR), expressed her privilege in inaugurating this research center. She highlighted the importance of collaboration in addressing significant healthcare challenges and noted that research centers like CHIL are pivotal in making this collaboration a reality.
CHIL seeks to build on the momentum of Liverpool’s innovative responses during the COVID-19 pandemic, where data insights and analytics played a crucial role in coordinating civic actions. The university’s contribution to delivering the world’s first voluntary mass testing is a prime example of the kind of impact data-driven initiatives can achieve. CHIL will actively support the Pandemic Institute with data science and AI in preparing for future pandemics.
Optimizing medicines and public health
In medicine, CHIL will extend the university’s clinical pharmacology expertise into the realm of AI. This expansion aims to optimize medication usage, particularly for patients with multiple conditions requiring multiple medications.
Importantly, CHIL will integrate public health researchers into developing AI applications used by the NHS, local government, and other civic partners for population health management. This includes initiatives like Cheshire and Merseyside’s Data-into-Action program and the Liverpool City Region Civic Data Cooperative (CDC), which will now be headquartered at CHIL.
The Civic Health Innovation Lab (CHIL) at the University of Liverpool represents a significant step forward in advancing healthcare through AI and data-driven solutions. With its collaborative environment and multidisciplinary approach, CHIL aims to address pressing global health challenges and improve healthcare for individuals and populations alike. By leveraging data insights and fostering innovation, CHIL is poised to make a lasting impact on the future of healthcare.