Google Award for Inclusion Research Program Funding in 2023: Using Artificial Intelligence and Enterprise Medical Imaging Strategies for Effective Radiological Workflows

Google Research has awarded us a very generous research grant, as part of their Award for Inclusion Research (AIR) Program [1]. The grant has been awarded to support our research project titled “Exploring the Use of Enterprise Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence for Efficient and Effective Radiological Workflows in Public Health Facilities in Zambia”.

Dr. Lighton Phiri (University of Zambia), Dr. Veronica Kangwa Sunkutu Sichizya (University Teaching Hospitals), Dr. Ernest Obbie Zulu (University Teaching Hospitals), and Dr. Zola Mahlaza (University of Pretoria) will act as Principal Investigators for the research project that builds up on preliminary research conducted between 2021 and 2022 [2], as part of a research project funded by the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies at The University of Zambia [3].

About the Google AIR Program

The Award for Inclusion Research Program is a competitive international program from Google that recognises and supports academic research in computing and technology that addresses the needs of historically marginalised groups globally. The research award was launched in 2020 and is primarily aimed at supporting innovative research and researchers working to create positive societal impact.

About the Enterprise Medical Imaging Research Project

The public health sector in Zambia, which primarily provides health services to underserved communities, has a deficit of qualified radiologists, with a report of nine (9) radiologists servicing a population of 18 million individuals, as of 2021 (Bwanga et al., 2021) [4]. This shortfall poses a number of challenges with requisition, acquisition and interpretation of medical images. Coupled with this problem is the fact that recent years have seen a rise in the type of medical imaging modalities used in the health sector, including an exponential growth of medical imaging data requiring interpretation.

This funded project is aimed at exploring the use of Enterprise Medical Imaging strategies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in addressing radiological workflow challenges experienced in public health facilities in Zambia. Specifically, the project will be aimed at utilising AI-inspired techniques that emphasise the human-in-the-loop approach to (i) effectively store and manage medical images and radiological reports with interoperability in mind; (ii) explore the feasibility of semi-automated approaches to the interpretation of medical images and, additionally, (iii) explore the feasibility of automated generation of radiological reports.


[1] Google Research. (2022, December). Award for Inclusion Research Recipients: 2022 award recipients. Google Research. Retrieved January 4, 2023, from
[2] Zulu, E. O., & Phiri, L. (2022, May). Enterprise Medical Imaging in the Global South: Challenges and Opportunities. In 2022 IST-Africa Conference (IST-Africa) (pp. 1-9). IEEE. URL:
[3] Lighton Phiri. (2021, December 1). Seed money grant award for streamlined medical imaging workflows in Zambia using Enterprise Medical Imaging and artificial intelligence. Lighton Phiri. Retrieved January 4, 2023, from
[4] Bwanga, O., Sichone, J. M., Sichone, P. N., & Kazuma, Y. B. (2021). Image interpretation and reporting by radiographers in Africa: findings from the literature review and their application to Zambia. Medical Journal of Zambia, 48(2), 125-135. URL: