UCL and AWS team up for health tech-focused startup accelerator

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AWS is lending its cloud expertise to UCL’s startup accelerator programme, which is geared towards helping health and education organisations address global health issues

Caroline Donnelly

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Published: 05 Apr 2022 9:30

University College London (UCL) has set out plans to launch a digital innovation hub geared towards helping medical and education startups use cloud technologies to tackle global health issues.

The UCL Centre for Digital Innovation (CDI) is launching with the support of public cloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS), whose technologies will be underpinning the initiative.

The centre will be based at IDEALondon in Shoreditch, London, which is an existing UCL technology hub that was created specifically as a place that startups can go to get access to funding, workspace and business advice.

On a related note, one of the first activities AWS and UCL are embarking on is the launch of a startup-focused accelerator programme that will see participating early stage healthcare, education and research organisations offered access to funding and resources to scale-up their activities.

These resources will include training and technical support as participants work towards building a prototype or refining an existing design to ensure it can be scaled-up.

Furthermore, AWS has also committed to providing participants with around £370,000 in AWS credits to help fund the development of their products and services.

“Projects should look to solve a global issue in health or education using cloud computing and have a real user and customer in mind,” the organisations said, in a joint statement. “For example, a project focused on precision medicine which uses cloud computing to analyse and derive insights from data to generate patient prognostics, or a project which uses technology to reinvent the evaluation and marking process in education.”

In addition to the startup accelerator programme, UCL has confirmed it will open a call for PhD studentships, which will be partially funded by AWS, for the September 2022 academic year.

UCL CDI Director Graça Carvalho, who works in the university’s Faculty of Engineering Sciences, said the collaboration is set to bring benefits to all parties, not just the startups participating in the programme itself.

“This ambitious collaboration brings together the strength of UCL and AWS to build trust within digital innovation, allowing hospitals, universities, patients, students, research teams and UCL spinouts to use cloud-based technology to compete on a global stage,” said Carvalho.

“UCL will benefit from AWS’s ‘working backwards’ innovation methodology and the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering, and we, in turn, hope to support AWS through our strong evidence base that demonstrates the importance of digital innovation within the health and education sectors to increase efficiencies and offer truly personalised intelligent products and services.”

John Davies, director for regional government for the UK within the worldwide public sector division at AWS, added: “By bringing together UCL’s world-renowned academic rigour with AWS’s cloud technologies and culture of innovation, we hope to provide healthcare and education organisations with a springboard to help them to address some of the toughest challenges facing society right now.”

News of the technology tie-up between UCL and AWS follows hot on the heels of last month’s news about the cloud firm launching its first UK-focused startup accelerator programme for healthcare organisations.





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