Scottish tech firm to develop coronavirus bio-safety risk management tool for buildings

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Craig Fenton, COO at Data Innovation.AI

A SCOTTISH start-up has been awarded an additional Innovate UK grant to continue its pioneering development of an AI-driven bio-safety assessment tool for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Data Innovation.AI, based in Edinburgh, is investing further in the development of its WorkSafeAI solution – a tool designed to ensure that the £130bn of new commercial property built in the UK every year is pre-assessed for pandemic safety. 

Funding was granted to the firm through Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, after they enlisted the support of The Data Lab’s External Funding Service to help with their application.

Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “Data Innovation.AI’s work, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development.”

The WorkSafeAI tool can inform the design and construction of facilities to ensure the health and well-being of those using the facility, whilst supporting the sustainable long-term use of the building itself, even in the event of a future epidemic or pandemic. The tool delivers a new Artificial Intelligence approach, ‘Decision Intelligence’ (DI), which is used to run thousands of simulations using the latest epidemic modelling within the building designs. 

Robert Walker, CAO at Data Innovation.AI, noted: “COVID-19 has revealed risks inherent in large structures where people congregate for work, business and leisure. In the same way we design buildings for fire safety, air quality and water safety, we must now consider the continuous health of occupants, including infections transmitted through the workplace.

“As we return to our workplaces, these bio-safety issues will become ever more important, and we just need to look at the southern hemisphere which has largely avoided its flu season due to the same measures being used to counter COVID-19”.

Craig Fenton, COO of Data Innovation.AI, said: “Future buildings cannot be designed and built the way they have been in the past. WorkSafeAI assesses building designs through extensive simulation, human movement modelling, infection modelling, and uses Artificial Intelligence to assess the risks to occupants’ health and wellbeing.

“As we have found with COVID-19, AI is essential to work through all the epidemiological models and building engineering to provide a comprehensive assessment of the suitability of a building design to minimise infection risk and maximise facility operation – protecting the health of building occupants while ensuring sustainable use of the facility.”

Adam Turner, External Funding Service Lead at The Data Lab said: “We were more than happy to support Data Innovation.AI with its application for additional grant funding for this key expansion to their services. It’s great to see the team leveraging the services of both The Data Lab and our partners at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre to support their ongoing development.” Earlier this year, The Data Lab launched its External Funding Service to aid Scottish based companies in their quest to unlock available grant funding. To date, the team have supported over 60 Scottish companies in securing over £8million in data related innovation funding. The service provides the support of an experienced funding manager to maximise the impact of applications, as well as access to data scientists, project managers and system architects to expand research and development activities.