AI for Good blog

Artificial Intelligence for Health: ITU and WHO call for proposals


The ITU Focus Group on ‘AI for Health’ (FG-AI4H), created in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), has issued a Call for Proposals to identify compelling use cases of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in strengthening health services and overarching health systems.

The Call for Proposals is soliciting AI use cases and associated datasets in the fields of clinical and public health. Proposals should highlight the motivations behind an ‘AI for Health’ use case, the value of performance benchmarking in such cases, and the datasets required to train relevant AI algorithms.

< Access the template for proposals >

The Call for Proposals resulted from the Focus Group’s first meeting at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, 25-27 September 2018. Proposals submitted before 7 November 2018 will be considered by the second meeting of the Focus Group in New York City, U.S., 14-16 November 2018.

Towards Proofs of Concept

The aims of the Focus Group are described by the group’s Chair, Thomas Wiegand, Executive Director of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and Professor at TU Berlin:

“The Focus Group plans to establish a framework and associated processes for the performance evaluation of AI algorithms in health. This will be a complicated and challenging task, one we will undertake step-by-step, beginning with this first Call for Proposals.”

Iterative Calls for Proposals will guide the Focus Group’s development of evaluation methods to assess the degree to which ‘AI for Health’ use cases have achieved Proof of Concept.

“Performance benchmarking will determine whether or not AI algorithms are fit for purpose, of the standard necessary to automate certain tasks in the health sector,” says Marcel Salathé, Vice-Chair of the Focus Group and Professor at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

The Focus Group’s work will depend heavily on data. The group is in search of datasets able to become reference data for performance benchmarking.

“The Focus Group will support multi-stakeholder collaboration to address the challenges surrounding data availability in the health context,” says Vice-Chair of the Focus Group, Ramesh Krishnamurthy, Senior Advisor to the WHO Department of Information, Evidence and Research.

“WHO has committed key assets to this work, including senior WHO officials able to shape this discussion and drive this collaboration forward,” says Krishnamurthy.

Join the Focus Group

ITU Focus Groups are open to all interested parties.

The group’s first meeting agreed an initial set of requirements that datasets must meet in order to be accepted by the Focus Group. See the requirements.

The meeting also agreed an initial thematic classification scheme to structure the Focus Group’s review of documents. See the classification scheme.

Join the group’s mailing list, request access to documents and sign-up as a participant on the homepage of the ITU Focus Group on ‘AI for Health’.

Learn more about ‘AI for Health’ use cases, benchmarking and data in ITU interviews with the Focus Group’s Chairman and participants from research institutes, industry players and United Nations agencies.

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