Team from UCD shortlisted in National Analytics & AI Awards 2021

June 3rd, 2021


A team from UCD are finalists in the National Analytics & AI Awards 2021, which take place virtually on June 17th.  

The AI_PREMie project, which uses artificial intelligence to help identify women with the pregnancy condition preeclampsia, is shortlisted for the Social Impact Award. This award, sponsored by PwC, recognises a project, organisation or initiative that uses data analytics and/or AI for the benefit of society. AI_PREMie previously won the NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award and was awarded challenge funding from Science Foundation Ireland.

“We are absolutely delighted to be finalists for the Social Impact Award at the National Analytics & AI Awards,” said Prof Patricia Maguire, co-lead on the project. “AI_PREMie is a new test that will accurately risk-stratify preeclampsia and facilitate early intervention by the clinicians before severe complications occur.”

Preeclampsia is a devastating disease that affects about one in every 10 pregnancies and annually claims the lives of more than 50,000 mothers and 500,000 babies. Another 5 million babies are born prematurely due to preeclampsia every year. 

“These deaths happen because there is no screening test for preeclampsia. The only cure right now is to actually deliver the baby which unfortunately sometimes can be very preterm. Preeclampsia is also notoriously difficult to diagnose. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning we have discovered a new way to find diagnostics in the blood.”

AI_PREMie is currently being piloted in the three Dublin maternity hospitals, capturing 50% of all Irish births. 

The team’s societal champion, Prof Mary Higgins, is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street.

“I was asked to participate because I provide care to women who have been affected by early onset preeclampsia. This includes women whose babies have died and women who have been very sick. They've gone from a perfectly normal pregnancy to a life-changing experience which will affect their families for the rest of their lives. And also in a personal capacity I had preeclampsia myself so that's why it's something that is really meaningful to me. My daughter was born at 31 weeks, a week after Christmas, in 2004. She spent seven weeks in the intensive care unit. You think as a doctor you're going to be immune to preeclampsia, which is ridiculous because it can affect anybody.”

AI_PREMie is shortlisted alongside submissions from Accenture, Deloitte and Derilinx. The awards ceremony is organised by the Analytics Institute, which supports the data science and analytics sector by providing a platform to its members to share insights and expertise - and to collaborate and build networks. 

Hosted by broadcaster Sile Seoige, the National Analytics and AI Awards will be streamed live from their virtual studio on Thursday, June 17th at 3pm.