National pathology imaging cooperative: at the forefront of digital pathology and artificial intelligence


Background: National pathology imaging cooperative (NPIC) is one of the largest digital pathology and artificial intelligence (AI) programs in the world. UK-based NPIC is deploying clinical digital pathology at a national scale and has built a platform for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research for the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. NPIC is a 100 million dollar program funded by the UK government and co-investment funding from a number of industry partners including Leica, Roche and Sectra. NPIC partners include an extensive network of thirty NHS hospitals, seven universities and additional industry. 


Methods: NPIC leads on clinical deployment and validation of digital pathology, DICOM standards interoperability, quality assurance, research data ethics, AI exemplar projects in the real world, clinical evaluation, training and patient and public involvement and engagement. 


Results: NPIC is deploying digital pathology across NHS laboratories in the UK. At Leeds Teaching Hospitals, 100 percent of glass slides are scanned and available for primary diagnosis with 1400 glass slides and 1 terabyte of image data per day. NPIC at scale sees a rapid deployment of the solution across hospitals in the whole country and two national networks in paediatrics and soft bone tissue cancers. The program will result in fully digitising cases across a population of 6 million, scanning over 2.4 million images per year stored within a 60 petabyte solution central technology known as a vendor neutral archive or VNA based on the international DICOM standard.. The solution is scalable across multiple sites and specialist tumour network for research purposes, allowing any developer the option to plug in their AI or image viewing tool on top of the image stack. NPIC have established an international training centre in Leeds, UK and has a facility with scanners from several different vendors installed to offer a multiple platform for slide scanning to replicate images for AI development. NPIC have a number of AI exemplar projects to develop and evaluate AI. NPIC are scanning all of the pathology slides linked to participants of 100,000 genomes project to co-create the world’s largest  multi-modal image library with genomics, pathology and radiology data for research purposes. NPIC offers access to a large library of digital images and reports, subject matter experts and end-users and is established to facilitate training as well a development and real-world evaluation of AI across multiple sites to support international clinical trials, image standards and regulations. 


Conclusions: NPIC is leading by example and has established a digital pathology system platform for clinical use in the NHS and AI research and innovation at scale. Placing NPIC at the forefront of AI and imaging. 



  1. Overview of cutting edge program of digital pathology and AI
  2. Update on Exemplar projects including multi-modal approached
  3. Creating global opportunities for partnership working in AI evaluation


Presented by:


Daljeet Bansal, PhD

NPIC Director

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Dr Daljeet Bansal, BMedSci, PhD, is Director of Operations and strategic partnerships at the National Pathology Imaging Cooperative, the UK’s largest digital pathology transformation programmes and Artificial Intelligence (AI) research.



Bethany Williams, MBBS, PhD

Lead for Training and Education

National Pathology Imaging Co-Operative


Dr Bethany Williams is a Specialty Doctor at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds, and the Lead for Training, Validation and Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) at the National Pathology Imaging Co-Operative in the United Kingdom. She has published extensively in the fields of digital pathology patient safety, evidence based digital pathology training and validation and effective digital deployment. Her body of research earned her the Pathological Society’s medal for research impact, and she is regularly invited to speak at international conferences as an authority on the digital pathology evidence base, practical deployment and patient safety.