Bavarian science minister Bernd Sibler visits Digital Health Hub at FAU
FAU: A leading research location for AI and medicine
Artificial intelligence (AI) and medical technology – two future trends that are inseparably linked to FAU: AI has been an important field of research at FAU for more than 40 years, and the University is internationally renowned in the field of medical technology. No wonder, then, that FAU was chosen for the Digital Health Hub within the framework of the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria (HTA). Bavarian science minister Bernd Sibler visited FAU to discover for himself what can be expected from the Digital Health Hub today and in the future.
‘Establishing the Digital Health Hub in Erlangen as part of the HTA creates excellent conditions for FAU to expand a leading research location for AI in medicine and health,’ says FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger. ‘FAU is taking this opportunity to increase the visibility of Bavaria in research and innovation for AI in medicine and health both nationally and internationally.’
‘FAU has traditionally been strong in both medical technology and AI. Linking the two areas together is therefore a logical development. Even before the HTA, more than 60 professors at FAU were involved in topics important to AI. I am pleased that we are setting up twelve new AI professorships at FAU within the framework of the HTA and are thus establishing a strong Digital Health Hub in Erlangen. Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, we are sending out an important signal: promoting technology is not an end in itself, but must serve the wellbeing of people,’ explains Bavarian science minister Bernd Sibler.
FAU and the Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg as a whole is already a beacon in the field of medical technology: for example, the Digital Health Hub, located at FAU in Erlangen, is part of the Medical Valley, an internationally recognised and efficient research network linking Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Sciences at FAU, and the medical technology and health industry in the metropolitan region with over 500 companies.
The High-Tech Agenda Bavaria (HTA) further strengthens and expands this leading position: a total of twelve new AI professors will be located at FAU – eight of them at the newly created Department of Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Engineering (AIBE), which forms the core of the Digital Health Hub. Just a few days ago, FAU received four new professorships from the HTA: one in the field of sensor technology and speech processing, one in the field of nano- and material sciences and two in the field of AI in medicine.
d.hip: Working together to advance digitalisation in medicine and healthcare
Bavarian science minister Bernd Sibler visited Erlangen to take a closer look at the activities of the Digital Health Hub. Most of the tour was held virtually due to the impact of the coronavirus. However, science minister Bernd Sibler, FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger and Tobias Zobel, Director of d.hip, met in the premises of the ‘Digital Health Innovation Platform’ (d.hip): a foundation established by FAU, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Siemens Healthineers and the Medical Valley. Their goal is to actively advance the digitalisation of medicine and healthcare as a platform for the transdisciplinary development of new products and solutions.
For example, a data integration centre has been set up at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen to provide medical data from regional projects and healthcare providers to provide professional AI analytics. d.hip is also funding junior professors in the field of digital health and medical data analytics.
Other stakeholders from the Digital Health Hub joined the event virtually including Dr. Bernd Montag, CEO of Siemens Healthineers, who explained how cutting-edge research with technology companies leads to success.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Maier, Chair of Computer Science 15 (Machine Intelligence) at FAU, presented his ERC Synergy Grant-funded project ‘4D+nanoSCOPE’ for developing a new imaging method. The aim of the new technique is to enable x-ray microscopy to be carried out on living subjects. The interdisciplinary project, which he is carrying out together with Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and the Helmholtz Centre in Berlin, is intended to revolutionise knowledge about osteoporosis and enable faster therapeutic successes.
Improving digital health services for pregnant women is the aim of the ‘SMART Start’ project led by Prof. Dr. Björn Eskofier, Chair of Computer Science 14 (Machine Learning and Data Analysis) at FAU. The project aims to conduct fundamental work into developing digital health solutions in this area. Such solutions include reducing the burden of routine preventive examinations through remote technology which would mean fewer visits to the doctor’s office for pregnant women.
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