Press Release NetZeroAICT project launch

NetZeroAICT team picture

Oxford Surgeon Scientist leads an international transdisciplinary consortium towards delivering NetZero Healthcare.

The European Union Horizon Europe (with joint funding from UK Research Innovation) has
awarded NetZeroAICT Consortium major funding to develop a novel technology with great
potentials to promote climate neutral and sustainable health care.

This International Transdisciplinary Consortium is led by Prof Regent Lee at Oxford
University’s Nuffield Department of Surgical sciences. He is a UK Research Innovation
Future Leaders Fellow and Associate Professor of Vascular Surgery. The Oxford team
further includes Prof Vicente Grau, Professor of Engineering Science at the Institute of
Biomedical Engineering. Their team developed the pioneering technology (CT Digital
Contrast TM ) which can make Computerised Tomography (CT) scans safer, faster, more
equitable and more sustainable.

The Horizon Europe award funding (total of €6M) will accelerate scientific development,
clinical validation and subsequent regulatory approval of CT Digital Contrast. It will harness
the comprehensive collective expertise of the 20 partners across academia, healthcare and

According to Professor Lee: “The combined NetZeroAICT Consortium expertise will enable
us to develop and deploy trustworthy ‘green’ AI software as medical device with the ultimate
goal to reduce the environmental footprint from CT imaging. European patients will have
access to safer, faster, equitable and sustainable healthcare delivery while the healthcare
systems strengthen their alignment with the European Green Deal. This is a new era of
translational research. In addition to improving patients’ health, our aspiration is to improve
planetary health for future generations.”

In addition to manufacturing AI Software as Medical Devices (AISaMD) that can minimise
the climate and environmental impact of clinical imaging (which accounts for ~1% of global
greenhouse emissions), the Consortium will develop a reference framework for delivering
AISaMDs using a ‘green’ and sustainable pipeline by incorporating green computational
architectures and comprehensively examine the social/life cycle impacts of implementing CT
Digital Contrast TM .

Professor Paul Shearing, ZERO Institute Director, University of Oxford, said: “Decarbonising
society to achieve Net Zero requires scrutiny of all areas of our lives, including healthcare,
where emissions may be ‘hiding in plain sight’. The NetZeroAICT consortium have
catalogued the carbon intensity of medical imaging and are proposing exciting solutions to
reducing the environmental impact of this critical area of medicine. We are excited to see the
progress of the consortium, and to identify opportunities for replicating this proactive
approach to decarbonisation across the healthcare sector.”

Professor Sam Fankhauser of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
and Director of Research for Oxford Net Zero, added: “There is no silver bullet to achieving
net zero – each sector must simply take a long, hard look at itself and start the hard work of
cutting emissions. It is inspiring to see the NetZeroAICT Consortium starting this process for
CT scans and ultimately more sustainable healthcare and speaks to the commitment to
addressing climate change across the University of Oxford.

Project Coordinator, Anders Nordell from Collective Minds Radiology, further emphasised

There is almost unlimited expertise and data in healthcare. The problem is that it is
locked into silos. To advance care, more collaboration is needed. The NetZeroAICT
project will break these barriers and set a new standard with the ‘cleanest’ data for AI
research in CT imaging. We have developed privacy-preserving technology and international
legal frameworks which enables international health data sharing, highly secure and
compliant with privacy regulations, such as GDPR.

A key ambition for the Consortium is to establish it trustworthiness among the stakeholders
involved in all sectors. There will be a strong focus on impactful patient public involvement
and engagement to refine the Consortium activities.