ICMR and IISc to work together for the creation of a gold standard medical data platform


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have signed an MoU on Friday, 16 September 2022, to collaborate on a national initiative towards the creation of high-quality medical datasets representing India’s diversity. ICMR and IISc will develop a technology-enabled hubs-and-spokes system of collecting and curating data through institutions across the country. ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park), a not-for-profit foundation promoted by IISc, will serve as the initiative’s partner for technology development and programme management.

Artificial Intelligence solutions – for screening, diagnosis, and decision support – hold much promise to improve access to healthcare, and boost productivity and effectiveness of health human resources at all levels. Quality-assured and curated medical imaging datasets that truly represent India’s diversity of people, settings, and needs will accelerate research and innovation to realise that promise. Such independent, benchmark data will also help assess AI-based tools developed by startups and companies, and thus accelerate deployment in practice.

By leveraging premier medical institutions as hubs and bringing together experts from both medicine and data science, the team driving this initiative will help standardise data collection from many “spoke” institutions. It will also help curate that data and aim to make them available, in accordance with applicable policies and laws, to the broader community of researchers and innovators.

Welcoming the initiative, Prof Govindan Rangarajan, Director of IISc, said, “Our goal is to bring together the best of technology, data science, and medical research to improve healthcare. This partnership with ICMR will enable us to do exactly that by creating invaluable datasets to propel the next generation of innovations for India and the world.”

Sh Rajeev Roy, Sr Financial Advisor, ICMR, said, “ICMR is investing in medical research of the country through its various focused programs. The present MoU will enhance the outcome of the investment by providing value-added, reusable data sources to researchers from medical research and engineering institutions.”

Dr Harpreet Singh, Head Division of Biomedical Informatics, ICMR, added, “Both IISc and ICMR share a rich history of holding the highest standards in research for more than 100 years. Activities and interests of both institutes complement each other, and thus, the activities proposed under the MoU, particularly the medical data platform, will provide far-reaching benefits to public health.”

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