a2 Pilot Awards

Frequently Asked Questions

Intellectual Property
Invited Full (Round 2) Application
Funding and Timing
What are the sources of funding?

Funding is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Artificial Intelligence and Technology Collaboratories (AITC) for Aging Research program. Each AITC will be responsible for executing subawards to fund pilot projects in accordance with NIH guidelines.

How many a2 Pilot Awards are available?

We anticipate that 15-30 grants will be awarded in the second year of this 5-year program.

How much funding is available?

Each pilot project can request, with justification, up to $200,000 in direct costs to be expended within a 12-month period (typical requests are in the $50,000 to $100,000 range). Your institution can request indirect costs at its federally negotiated facilities and administrative rate. If an applicant organization does not have a federally negotiated rate, the maximum indirect rate that can be requested is 10% of direct costs.

Does the grant award of up to $200,000 include indirect costs?

No, $200,000 is the ceiling for direct costs. Indirect costs are budgeted separately and should be included in the application budget.

What type of expenses are allowable?

Consistent with NIH guidelines, pilot grant funds may be used for (1) project support of personnel, (2) use of services, including, where applicable, salary support for investigators, biostatisticians, staff or other experts, (3) project-necessary travel, (4) equipment (less than $5,000 without prior approval), research supplies and reagents, and lab costs, (5) study participant compensation, (6) other study-related expenses with justification, and (7) publication costs.

Pilot grant funds may not be budgeted for (1) travel to scientific meetings or (2) meals (except during focus groups and other data collection/informational sessions and in accordance with NIH policy). You can view more information here.

When will funding commence for selected projects?

We expect the formal confirmation of awards in spring 2023, assuming there are no delays in receiving approvals from NIA, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, as applicable.

What is the timeline for a funded project?

The project period for a pilot award is typically 6 months to 1 year. A no-cost extension of 1 additional year can be requested. There will be at least one application cycle in each of the 5 years of the AITC program.If the project PI is not ready to begin the project within 4 months of an offer of funding, the AITC reserves the right to withdraw its offer. The expectation is that all subaward funds will be expended by the end of the subaward’s project period. At the end of the project period, any unexpended funds may be repurposed to support other pilot subawards.

Is the funding structured as a loan or investment?

Funding will be awarded as a grant and is non-dilutive to the company.

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

Yes. Applicants may apply to each a2 Pilot Awards competition and may submit applications for multiple unique pilot projects in a single competition.

Is there an opportunity for follow-up funding or long-term partnership if a pilot project is funded?

Yes. The purpose of the AITC is to connect applicants to resources, support pilots, and help projects come to fruition in real-world settings. As such, there are opportunities for follow-up funding and long-term partnerships beyond the pilot project via future a2 Pilot Awards competitions, SBIR/STTR grants, or other venture funding.

Once awarded, are applicants expected to collaborate with the AITC?

Applicants are encouraged but not required to use AITC resources to augment their pilot projects, which may require an on-site collaborator and budget allocation to pay-for-use AITC resources. Applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out directly to the AITCs to discuss pay-for-use resources that may need to be factored into the application's budget. However, projects that do not include an on-site collaborator or direct use of AITC resources are still eligible to receive a pilot award.

PIs of funded pilot projects are expected to engage with their AITC in ongoing mentoring and oversight activities and are encouraged to play an active role in the AITC community, such as by attending meetings, presenting on their projects, and amplifying future a2 Pilot Awards competitions.