AI for Healthcare – Call for Projects


Program Overview

Scale AI’s Pan-Canadian Hospital Initiative will focus on supporting hospital projects pioneering deployment of AI solutions. Based on insights developed by Scale AI through hospital projects funded during the COVID pandemic, Scale AI has developed eligibility criteria and a project structure for successful hospital AI project deployments. 

The mandate of the Pan-Canadian Hospital Initiative is to promote collaboration between hospitals and AI service providers to further innovation and support AI adoption at Canadian hospitals to improve their operations and care for Canadians.   Please note that this Scale AI funding stream is limited to provincially-funded non-profit hospitals having at least 500 patient-care beds in Canada (defined as a “Hospital” throughout this page). 

To qualify for the funding, hospitals will collaborate with suitable AI service providers to submit a project for consideration by Scale AI, according to the process described in this page.  By project completion, it is hoped that successful applicant hospitals will be able to derive tangible and measurable impacts of the AI solutions they adopt in their in-hospital operations.

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Application Process

The application process is structured in three phases:

Phase 1 – Eligibility (Opens Mar 27th, 2023; Submission deadline May 15th, 2023)

All project submissions must be submitted by an applicant that is a provincially-funded non-profit hospital with more than 500 patient-care beds in Canada (“Hospital”). During Phase 1, applicants will complete a short form (“Eligibility Form”) that outlines how the proposed project matches the selection criteria set out in the form, as well as a letter of intent (“Letter of Intent”) signed by the hospital’s CEO and clinical lead for the proposed project, as described above. 

Applicants must complete and submit an Eligibility Form (template here) and signed Letter of Intent by the deadline of May 15, 2023 at 6pm, Montreal time. To begin the process, please scroll down and complete the form at the bottom of this page.

No other documents are requested or will be accepted during Phase 1.  Documents received after the deadline will not be accepted or considered. We will review documents on a first in first served basis and we will provide answers in the order of submission. As a result, we encourage applicants to submit their projects as soon as they are ready.

In the interest of fairness to all applicants, during Phase 1 Scale AI will not provide any assistance to any applicants, such as review and comment on draft submissions.   

All submissions (Eligibility Form + signed Letter of Intent) that are received prior to the deadline will be evaluated by Scale AI for eligibility based solely on the Eligibility Form and Letter of Intent submitted, according to the criteria set out in the Eligibility Criteria section below.  Only one submission per applicant will be considered by Scale AI.

Scale AI will inform applicants of its eligibility decisions by May 31st, 2023. Only applicants successful in their eligibility submission will be invited by Scale AI to submit a detailed project proposal (Phase 2).   Unsuccessful applicants will receive high-level feedback from Scale AI on why their submission was not accepted by Scale AI. The submission process does not include any opportunity for an appeal by unsuccessful applicants.

Phase 2 – Detailed Project Proposal (Opens June 1st, 2023; Deadline July 31st, 2023)

At the time Scale AI notifies successful eligibility applicants from Phase 1, Scale AI will also invite these applicants to submit a detailed project proposal (“Detailed Proposal”).  Detailed Proposals are required to be completed on SCALE AI’s portal and will follow the following template.

Applicants must submit their final Detailed Proposal no later than July 31st, 2023 at 6pm Montreal time. Documents received after the deadline will not be accepted or considered.  Only one submission per applicant will be accepted.  No other documents are requested or will be accepted during Phase 2.

Phase 3 – Selection and Award

Detailed Proposals will be evaluated by Scale AI, according to the criteria set out in Detail Proposal Criteria section below.  During the evaluation process, Scale AI may ask applicants for clarification on certain aspects of their Detailed Proposal.  

Scale AI will notify applicants of Scale AI’s selection decisions, and any associated conditions for funding, no later than August 31st, 2023.

Successful applicants will be required to enter a Master Project Agreement with Scale AI that sets out the terms and conditions related to Scale AI funding.  Successful applicants must sign their MPAs and start their projects no later than October 1st 2023, failing which Scale AI’s offer for funding will be immediately revoked.

Scale AI will share feedback with unsuccessful applicants, however there is no opportunity to appeal Scale AI funding decisions.

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Project Selection Criteria

A. Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible under Phase 1 of the submission process, the submitted project proposal must satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant and Project Team:
    • Applicant is a provincially-funded non-profit hospital with more than 500 beds in Canada (“Hospital”)
    • AI service provider is located in Canada
    • Project lead is the Applicant Hospital
    • A Letter of Intent (using required template) is submitted, signed by the Hospital’s CEO, Executive Sponsor and clinical lead of the project.
  • Project Dates
    • Project must start no later than October 1, 2023
    • Project must end no later than by December 31, 2025
    • All project costs and supporting documents must be submitted to Scale AI for reimbursement no later than January 31, 2026.
  • In-Scope: Project is aligned with Scale AI’s strategy (ie., supporting the commercialization and adoption of AI solutions in supply chain and democratizing AI to make it widely available to Canadian organizations) and is focused on AI applied to intra-hospital logistics or resources allocation. Note: within this call for projects, “supply chain in hospitals” refers to optimizing and streamlining resources across the hospital chain (human resources, equipment, medication, tools etc.)
  • Incremental to regular operations: Compared to existing operations, the project must be net-new, or significantly expand the scope or scale, or accelerate, or otherwise transform the Hospital’s operations.
  • Multiple participants: The project team involves at least two participants, including at least one regional hospital (i.e. a provincially-funded hospital located in a Canadian metropolitan area of less than 500,000 people – “Regional Hosptial”), in the role of project lead or as an observer for the purpose of acquiring lessons learned to apply to its own operation.
  • Budget: Project must have a minimum budget of $500,000 of costs.  
  • Project readiness:  The Hospital and AI service provider have completed an initial feasibility study confirming the soundness of the scientific approach and the accessibility of the required data.

B. Detailed Proposal Criteria

Detailed Proposals (submitted using required template) will be assessed by Scale AI based on the following criteria (percentages indicate relative weight given by Scale AI to each criterion):

1- Strategic Alignment: 30%

​​How well does the project align with Scale AI’s strategic objectives to encourage adoption, commercialization and democratization of AI solutions in the supply chains of hospitals?  More specifically, the project must:

  • Be in-scope, addressing a significant supply chain need or issue affecting the hospitals
  • Develop new applied knowledge and share with the rest of the ecosystem
  • Pose a technical challenge that the solution will address
  • Be technically achievable

2- Team and Project Plan: 25%

How realistic is the project plan and how clearly are the costs associated with the project articulated? Scale AI will consider:

  • Technical credentials, subject matter expertise and project management capabilities of the assembled project team
  • Cooperation between consortium members (clear outline of benefits for each participant)
  • How realistic and clearly defined is the project management and planning
  • How reasonable is the cost structure

3- Ecosystem Impact: 25%

As the project scales-up, how will it benefit the ecosystem in areas such as application of intellectual property (IP), contribution to job creation and diversity principles, growth of SMEs through access to hospital supply chain solutions and dissemination of lessons learned to Regional Hospitals and other Canadian healthcare system players

  • Impact on SME growth through access to supply chains
  • Potential for use of foreground IP outside of project scope (e.g. for other hospitals, or other applications outside hospitals)
  • Job creation, skills and diversity development
  • Development of industry-informed academic research, learning and training
  • Other benefits to the ecosystem

4- Business Impact: 20%

How well does the project plan address issues such as operational or business needs of the hospital? What is the project business plan? Also to be considered are factors such as realistic commercialization plans and adoption of AI.

  • Adoption of AI-powered supply chain
  • Operational efficiencies
  • Cost efficiencies and effectiveness translating into better resource utilization and patient care
  • Clear and realistic commercialization plans

View the FAQ

Project Requirements for Funding

Reimbursement Rate: If the project is approved, Scale AI will fund up to 100% of the project costs, as follows:

  1. Cost eligibility: 
    • costs must be incurred by the Hospital (only) and be directly related to the AI solution development or adoption;  
    • costs must be incurred in Canada, and must be “eligible costs” as defined by Scale AI’s Guidelines for Funding;
    • costs may include external costs, such as the AI service provider;
    • however, Hospital internal costs are limited to a maximum of one (1) internal Hospital FTE dedicated to project management (no other Hospital internal labour costs will be funded by Scale AI).
  2. Minimum budget: Only projects with a budget of at least $500,000 will be considered.
  3. Maximum budget: The funding will be capped at $1.5M per project to be allocated based on three milestones:
  • Milestone 1: Funding of up to $500,000 reimbursed once the minimum viable product (MVP) is ready to be tested in operations;
  • Milestone 2: Funding of up to $500,000 reimbursed if (and when) the clinical test phase is completed within 18 months after project start.
  • Milestone 3: Funding of up to $500,000 reimbursed if (and when) the solution is deployed in the targeted services and metrics measuring impacts are provided. These metrics should measure the level of usage of the solution and the actual impacts in operations (by project end date, before December 31, 2025).

Project Duration and Deadline

  • The contract with SCALE AI and all contracts with project partners necessary to start the project should be signed and the project must start no later than October 1, 2023, otherwise Scale AI’s funding offer will be immediately revoked.
  • Project must be completed by December 31, 2025.  
  • All project costs and supporting documentation must be submitted to Scale AI no later than January 30, 2026.  
  • Scale AI will not fund any project costs incurred: 
    • for any projects starting after October 1, 2023 or consortiums that have not completed the signature of required documents by October 31, 2023;
    • after December 31, 2025; or
    • if requests for reimbursement and impact measurements are provided to Scale AI after January 30, 2026.

Intellectual Property: To amplify the ecosystem effect of Scale AI funding, Scale AI will require that the AI service provider will own all of the foreground intellectual property it generates in the project (for clarity, excluding any data owned and/or furnished by the Hospital), and that the AI service provider will be free to exploit that intellectual property elsewhere without restriction elsewhere (i.e. outside the project, after project completion, etc.)

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As a solution provider, can I submit a project with several hospitals participating? 

Yes, you may submit a project involving several hospitals. A project that is deployed across several hospitals will be a positive factor considered by SCALE AI, and may help hospitals distribute costs amongst themselves.  However, for project management purposes, Scale AI would like one Hospital to be designated as the project lead.

What do you mean by “Only one submission per applicant will be considered by Scale AI”?

It means that we don’t accept more than one submission coming from the same hospital AND the same solution provider.

How does SCALE AI intend to apply the minimum requirement of 500 beds?

The number of beds is more a guideline, to :

  1. ensure that the project will have a sufficient impact on the Canadian healthcare ecosystem, and
  2. ensure that the hospitals adopting the solution have sufficient capacity to execute the project.

As such, there is flexibility in how the number of beds is calculated.  For example, it may be possible to meet the requirement by having a consortium of several hospitals participating and by demonstrating that the consortium has the capacity to execute.

Can an academic partner be part of the consortium?

Yes. The Hospital leading the consortium can choose the most relevant partners for the project, including partners from academia.

Why is Scale AI asking for a letter signed by Hospital stakeholders as part of the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible for Scale AI funding, the project must commence no later than October 1, 2023, meaning all contracts between the Hospital and Scale AI, and between the Hospital and its service provider(s) must also be signed before this date.  We understand that contracting can be a slow process at hospitals.  This is why we ask for a strong letter of intent very early in the process, at the eligibility stage, to ensure that relevant stakeholders at the Hospital support the project and that the Hospital commences early the internal processes necessary to negotiate and sign the contracts required to start the project before October 1st, 2023.

Can equipment be included in eligible expenses from hospitals?

Yes, Scale AI projects can cover a portion of equipment costs, however in assessing the equipment costs Scale AI takes into consideration:

  • the duration of the project and the lifetime of the equipment;
  • the necessity of the equipment to develop the AI solution; and
  • the balance between the equipment costs and the costs of the development of the solution.

What does SCALE AI expect to see regarding the commercial agreement between the solution provider and the Hospital?

Other than the intellectual property ownership arrangements required by Scale AI, there are no other specific requirements on the commercial agreement between the solution provider and the Hospital. However, SCALE AI expects that the key elements of the agreement and the business model of the solution provider will be clearly explained in the submission.

Are we free to propose the metrics which will be used to measure the impacts on operations and the success of the project?

Yes, but SCALE AI has the final say on the selection of metrics, to ensure they are appropriate in view of the nature and objectives of the project.

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