Skip to main content

Funding for Wales Data Nation Accelerator projects

23 May 2022

A portfolio of data science and Artificial Intelligence projects that team Wales academic expertise with industry, public and third sector partners are to benefit from Welsh Government funding.

As part of Welsh Government’s Digital Strategy for Wales, £500,000 is being shared between 22 innovative Wales Data Nation Accelerator (WDNA) projects, including Cardiff University.

Wales Data Nation Accelerator (WDNA) is a collaboration between Cardiff, Swansea, Bangot and Aberystwyth universities to help Wales accelerate new insight, foresight and intelligence from our diverse data assets for societal, health and economic impact.

It seeks to fuel innovation in data and AI for new solutions, products and applications in key industrial clusters and public services, while enriching the talent pool of skills in Wales for data science and AI.

Welcoming the funding, Professor Roger Whitaker, Pro Vice-Chancellor elect for Research, Innovation and Enterprise, at Cardiff University said: “The world is changing at an unprecedented pace due to data science and artificial intelligence. This affects almost every sector in Wales. The Universities of Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor, and Aberystwyth have partnered to form the Wales Data Nation Accelerator (WDNA) project, an ambitious programme of research, innovation and training to support digital transformation.”

“Welsh Government funding for short term ‘sprint’ projects has enabled partnership with organisations and companies to quickly demonstrate the power and potential of data and AI-driven technologies. This is supporting better health and wellbeing, improved public services, a competitive economy and a greener planet.”

Professor Roger Whitaker Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Professor of Collective Intelligence

One of the Cardiff projects to benefit from the funding is led by Professor Matthias Eberl at Cardiff University School of Medicine.

His team will use AI to save lives by preventing sepsis in abdominal surgery patients, and Welsh Government funding has helped them work with partners to support their research. Sepsis is responsible for one in five deaths globally, killing more than 11 million people each year. In the UK, Sepsis kills more people than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Professor Eberl said: “We are delighted to win this important tranche of support from Welsh Government. Our team specialises in artificial intelligence-based solutions for diagnosis of infection when patients present with acute symptoms.

“Our project is focused on early detection and prediction of complications after bowel surgery, which can result in bad patient outcomes, including sepsis and reduced cancer survival. Artificial Intelligence-based solutions is also a model for surgical site infections more broadly, with a potential for data science to have significant clinical and health impact.

“The project has allowed the University to consolidate our collaboration with Siemens Healthineers using data approaches with regard to validating biomarker of tests on the Immulite platform and seeking to identify additional biomarkers that may merit development.”

Welsh Government investment in universities collaborating in data science and artificial intelligence is changing lives and helping Wales become an international leader in the field.

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said: “Wales is home to fantastic higher education research. It is great to see our universities working together to make sure Wales is on the forefront of developments in data science and artificial intelligence. I am pleased that this funding has helped support projects with the power to improve people’s lives here in Wales and further afield. WDNA is an example of how a strong higher education sector can support all aspects of our lives and make sure we’re prepared for the future.”

Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething said: “Research, science, and technology has never been more important in terms of supporting solution-focussed projects and outcomes to tackle the major global problems. I’m confident this new funding will support our universities to use the very latest technological innovation in data science and artificial intelligence to do just that.”

The Wales Data Nation Accelerator is inviting people with an interest in AI and data science to attend an event on May 26. It offers an opportunity to network and explore Wales Data Nation Accelerator projects that could shape Wales’ future. Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, will give a Ministerial address at the event. To attend, click here to sign up via Eventbrite.

Share this story