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University launches health and technology innovation labs

The University of Liverpool has opened a new innovation lab, so that health and technology experts can join forces to advance healthcare and wellbeing.

Civic Health Innovation Labs (CHIL) is a “secure data environment” so researchers can examine local and global health challenges by developing AI and other data-driven advances.

“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,” explained Professor Buchan, W.H. Duncan Chair in Public Health Systems and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation, University of Liverpool.

“Building on our world-first Civic Data Cooperative, Liverpool City Region’s residents are deeply involved in how CHIL uses their data. Liverpool is proud to break new ground with civic approaches to data and AI innovation, demonstrating a spirit of togetherness that delivers positive change, as seen in our COVID-19 responses. In a world challenged by antimicrobial resistance, climate, conflicts, mental health problems, emerging infections, and the increasing frailty of ageing populations we need to pool our innovation resources – we’re all in it together.”

CHIL is based at Liverpool Science Park and features breakout spaces, dedicated collaboration areas and a secure NHS data and analytics area.

“It is a privilege to be able to open such an important research centre in the heart of Liverpool. Collaboration within the research sector is essential if we want to tackle some of the largest health and care problems facing the world today, and centres like this make that a reality,” added Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser DHSC, and CEO of NIHR.

“I particularly welcome the clear engagement and involvement of the community in this initiative. I am excited to follow what the organisation produces and see how it improves the lives of patients and the public.”

The aim of CHIL is to build on the momentum of what the city delivered during the Covid-19 pandemic where insights and interventions used linked data and analytics to coordinate civic actions – not least the University’s role in delivering the world’s first voluntary mass testing. 

CHIL will support the Pandemic Institute with data science and AI in preparedness for future pandemics.

It also hopes to address the gap in community-based and system-wide mental health research, the University recently partnered with Mersey Care, the UK’s largest mental health and community services trust, to create NIHR’s new Mental Health Research for Innovation Centre (M-RIC). Mersey Care is a core founding partner in CHIL, where M-RIC is headquartered.

When it comes to medicine, CHIL will enable the University’s leading clinical pharmacology work to expand into AI to optimise medicines, tackling the problems patients with multiple conditions on multiple medicine face.

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