Notice of Intent to Publish a Research Opportunity Announcement for AIM-AHEAD: Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

July 7, 2021

Related Announcements


Issued by

Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)

Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS)


The purpose of this Notice is to alert the community that NIH plans to publish a Research Opportunity (RO) as part of the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity (AIM-AHEAD) program. This solicitation will establish the AIM-AHEAD Coordinating Center (A-CC), comprised of four cores as detailed below. Applications may address one or more of the cores.

The solicitation is anticipated to be published on or around July 13, 2021. Letters of intent are required and are anticipated to be due July 20, 2021. The letters of intent will be reviewed by NIH staff and specific applicants will be invited to submit full proposals and compete. Full proposals will be due on or around July 27, 2021. Applicants should be prepared to participate in video-conference interviews the week of August 2, 2021 as part of the review process. Awards are expected to be made by September 1, 2021.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop responsive applications and partnerships. The AIM-AHEAD website,, will provide details and information for potential applicants.

Awards under this solicitation will be issued as Other Transaction Agreements (OTA), which are not grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements. OTA awards involve active NIH program management. Furthermore, the OTA funding mechanism provides NIH with the flexibility to design unique collaborations with non-traditional partners and private sector entities that may not have experience with commonly used assistance mechanisms such as grants and cooperative agreements.


The goal of AIM-AHEAD is to establish mutually beneficial and coordinated partnerships that increase the participation and representation of researchers and communities currently underrepresented in the development of AI/ML models, and to enhance the capabilities of this emerging technology, beginning with the use of electronic health record (EHR) data to address health disparities and inequities.

This solicitation will establish the AIM-AHEAD Coordinating Center (A-CC), which will build a consortium of institutions and organizations that have a core mission to serve minorities and other under-represented groups impacted by health disparities (e.g., Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, etc.). The A-CC will focus initially on coordination, assessment, planning, and capacity building to enhance the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in research among the consortium institutions and organizations. The A-CC will be comprised of four main cores. This solicitation will invite applications that address one or more of these:

  • Administrative Core: Project management, partnerships, stakeholder engagement, and outreach to increase the diversity of researchers in AI/ML related research, with emphasis on health disparities research.
  • Data Science Training Core: Assess, develop, and implement data science training curriculum to increase capacity among diverse population groups, specifically underrepresented minorities.
  • Data and Research Core: Linking, preparing, and cleaning electronic health records (EHRs), social determinants of health (SDOH), and other data sources for the development of AI/ML use cases which will ameliorate health disparities.
  • Infrastructure Core: Assessment of data, computing, and software infrastructure models, tools, resources, and AI computing models that will facilitate AI/ML and health disparities research; and establishment of pilot data and analysis environments to accelerate overall A-CC aims.

To ensure the best balance of expertise and capabilities, the A-CC may be comprised of one or more applicants from this solicitation. In addition, individual applications may be submitted by multi-institutional partnerships.

Once established, the A-CC is expected to identify and support engagements, assessments, pilot projects, and capacity building with consortium members. The A-CC will manage these relationships and associated contractual arrangements in partnership with NIH as subject to the OTA award. The A-CC will also manage engagement and coordination with existing NIH resources and private sector stakeholders.

The AIM-AHEAD program expects the A-CC to include experts from diverse social, cultural, economic, academic, and industrial backgrounds and communities. NIH is particularly interested in applications led by institutions and organizations that have a core mission to serve minorities and other under-represented groups impacted by health disparities. (See NIH’s Interest in Diversity.)

Funding Information


Estimated Total Funding


Expected Number of Awards


Estimated Award Ceiling

$100 million total costs over two years

Anticipated Eligible Organizations

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign applicants) are not eligible to apply. Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply. Foreign components are not allowed. Foreign consultants are allowed if approved by the NIH official in advance of the full application submission. Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct. Individuals not affiliated with an organization, or who want to submit an application independently of their current organization, may not apply.

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)


  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession Other
  • Independent School Districts
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations

Applications are not being solicited at this time.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices