Enhancing the innovation potential by advancing the know-how on biomedical image analysis - Kuopio Biomedical Image Analysis Center (KUBIAC)
The project is funded by European Social Fund (ESF).
The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland.
South Savo Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
Biomedical imaging is one of the regional strengths of Eastern Finland. The imaging know-how and infrastructure biomedical imaging in eastern Finland has had a vital role in bringing international investments into the region. Imaging is an essential component of the work of hundreds of professionals in health technology companies, the Kuopio University Hospital (KUH), and the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). Automated image analysis plays an increasingly important role in imaging as the amount of acquired data is continuously growing and traditional, manual image analysis methods start to reach their limits. At the same time, automated image analysis methods have taken giant leaps forward with the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, especially in deep neural networks. Methods based on AI will not replace professionals working with the image data, but professionals capable to utilize AI will replace those who are unable to do so. In other words, AI will replace tasks, not jobs. Because of this, to maintain the strong position of Eastern Finland in the biomedical imaging landscape, it is absolutely necessary to invest to the development of competence in the image analysis methodology. Furthermore, the nationally unique concentration of experimental magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) infrastructure (all five experimental MRI systems in Finland reside in Kuopio) offers an outstanding possibility of development of imaging related innovation potential by combining the infrastructure, imaging technology, application related expertise to the image analysis expertise. To profit from this possibility, imaging professionals coming from different backgrounds must be able to collaborate more effectively than currently.
Above mentioned facts create a substantial pressure towards several competence development actions: 1) Professionals utilizing imaging should understand better strengths and weaknesses of AI-based image analysis: 2) The need for image analysis method developers has increased significantly: 3) The better collaboration between method developers and method appliers would lead to novel innovations and improved understanding of the needs of competence development.
In this project, we answer to the above needs by the following actions:
1) We will establish the Kuopio Biomedical Image Analysis centre (KUBIAC) to improve the collaboration between different sectors (companies, universities, the _University hospital). The centre will become a significant producer of image analysis services and related education.
2) We will educate persons who utilize image analysis in their daily work (personnel of health technology companies, physicists and radiologists of Kuopio University Hospital, university researchers in life sciences) to better to understand the strengths and weaknesses of AI-based image analysis.
3) We bring more information about the image analysis needs of companies and KUH to UEF creating new innovations, international funding opportunities, and improving the targeting of the educational actions.
4) We educate image analysis method development experts based on changing regional needs.
5) We create international networking possibilities for image analysis experts.
In short term, the project will produce new image analysis know-how into the Kuopio region, create and strengthen collaboration between the stakeholders, and improve the digi-readiness of the target groups, especially related to the AI-based technologies. In long term, the project will produce a new image analysis innovation platform resulting in new compnanies, jobs, and international funding.
Group members - UEF
Jussi Tohka Professor , Faculty of Health Sciences, A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences