Element has been awarded a $1.28 million Digital Innovator Award by Wellcome to advance development of its contactless digital identity platform for infants and children to support immunization programmes.

Element will aim to advance a digital identity solution that can support healthcare partners in providing essential immunizations and other healthcare services for children at the first stages of life. Under the Wellcome award, Element will use novel deep learning approaches to model the biometric morphology of infant features over time, enhance performance, and enable the delivery of the product on existing mobile devices for use at scale in low-resource healthcare settings. Under the terms of the funding from Wellcome, Element has agreed to enter into agreements that will help ensure the availability of its infant platform in low- and middle-income countries.

“With this Digital Innovator Award, we will be able to work toward the scientific breakthroughs required to advance development of a novel platform for digital identity for children whose biometric features change rapidly over time,” said Manoj Alwani, Research Scientist, Element. “This is a major milestone for our research program, and it’s a great honor to partner with Wellcome and draw from their deep expertise in scaling innovation in global health and development, to ensure that our solutions are designed to be fit-for-use by those who need them most.”

Innovator Awards are designed to support researchers building innovative digital tools that address unmet healthcare needs or challenges. The Wellcome award builds on three years of work conducted with Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good Fund, Angkor Hospital for Children (Cambodia), icddr,b (Bangladesh), and the Manhiça Health Research Centre (Mozambique). Element’s infant research program is currently a semi-finalist in the ongoing AI XPRIZE competition and was selected as a 2018 Pacesetter by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.