a2 Pilot Awards

Frequently Asked Questions

Data Sharing and IP
Human Subjects Research
Funding and Terms
What organizations are eligible to apply for a2 Pilot Awards?

Eligible institutions must have a Unique Entity ID (UEI) number and include colleges, universities, medical or nursing schools, health care systems or settings, and other fiscally responsible organizations, including for-profit corporations and startups, nonprofits, and eligible government entities within the United States. Non-domestic (non-U.S.) entities (foreign institutions) are not eligible to apply. Non-domestic (non-U.S.) branches of U.S. organizations are not eligible to apply.

Projects may include foreign components, as defined in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants Policy Statement, provided they receive foreign clearance from NIH. For example, U.S.-based organizations (including U.S. branches of institutions with foreign headquarters) are eligible to apply but must receive foreign clearance for any work conducted in collaboration with or at a foreign site. Note that in the case of collaborations between U.S.-based and foreign organizations, the prime applicant must be a U.S.-based organization and any foreign organizations may be included as subcontracts. In all cases, the contact PI must be affiliated with the U.S.-based prime applicant organization; additional individuals from subcontract organizations may serve as co-PIs.

Details about any foreign components must be included in the project application. Applicants are advised to specify to the AITC the work to be conducted via foreign components as early as possible because policies on institutional review board approvals for work or data sharing conducted internationally vary across AITCs. If selected as a finalist, the NIH foreign clearance request will be initiated when the project is submitted to NIA for review (following the selection of finalists after the a2 Pilot Awards Round 2 submission period).

May I apply if I am not a U.S. citizen?

You may apply provided your visa immigration status is acceptable and you are employed by a U.S. institution.

Collaborations between primary applicant organizations based in the United States and foreign institutions are allowed, provided they receive National Institutes of Health foreign clearance. For more information on projects with foreign components, see “What organizations are eligible to apply for a2 Pilot Awards?”

What qualifications are required for the principal investigator (PI) and project team?

A PI can be any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed project. Projects must identify a contact PI, who must be affiliated with the U.S.-based prime applicant organization (rather than a subcontract organization). Additional individuals from subcontract organizations may serve as co-PIs.

PIs and project teams may include individuals with varied experience in industry, academia, health care, and other settings. Applicants are encouraged to include in their project team at least one individual with previous experience with National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant application and funding processes, as well as with navigating the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process if the proposed project involves human subjects research. Applicants from populations that are underrepresented in the artificial intelligence (AI) and technology fields as well as individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply for funding.

Are individuals or projects that have received prior National Institutes of Health funding eligible?

Individuals who have previously received NIH funding may be eligible if the prior funding was for work that does not share a focus with the proposed pilot project. NIH policy prohibits overlapping support for the same research. Thus, applicants who have received previous NIH funding, such as Research Project Grants (RPGs), pilot funds, and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards, are only eligible to apply to the a2 Pilot Awards for projects or technologies that do not overlap with research for which they have previously received any support from NIH or other federal sources.

Applicants who have a pending application for funding that would overlap with the proposed project if awarded are eligible to apply, but must promptly disclose any overlap that arises due to another award and either withdraw from the a2 Pilot Awards competition or resolve overlap between the relevant award and the proposed pilot project.

Are projects with existing collaborations with universities, research centers, or funding sources eligible to apply?

Existing collaborations and funding are not disqualifiers, as long as (1) the project has not received prior federal funding, (2) the portion of the research to be supported by a pilot award is not already funded by another source, and (3) all potential conflicts of interest relevant to any AITC institution that may arise from existing partnerships are reported in the application.

Do the project team and work site(s) have to be located in a particular state?

The project team and work sites may be located anywhere in the United States. Any foreign (non-U.S.) components require NIH foreign clearance. In all cases, the contact PI must be affiliated with the U.S.-based prime applicant organization; additional individuals from subcontract organizations may serve as co-PIs.

Can I apply to the a2 Pilot Awards competition more than once?

Yes. Applicants may apply to each a2 Pilot Awards competition regardless of prior application results and may submit applications for multiple unique pilot projects in a single competition. Note that simultaneous submission of overlapping pilot projects to multiple AITCs is not allowed.

What is the target age range represented in the a2 Pilot Awards’ call for AI and technology solutions that improve care and health outcomes for older adults?

Older adults typically include individuals aged 65 years and over. However, depending on the issue under study, use of an age range that begins younger (e.g., age 50 or 55) or is limited to the oldest old (e.g., age 80 and above), may be appropriate.

Can one individual serve as PI on multiple a2 Pilot Awards-funded projects during the same award year?

Yes, as long as no overlap exists between the projects and the PI’s overall effort across the projects and other commitments does not exceed 100 percent.