Notice Announcing Publication of “Development and Application of Ophthalmic Imaging Technologies to Advance Our Understanding of Systemic Diseases (OT2)” Research Opportunity Announcement
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

March 18, 2024

Related Announcements


Issued by

Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)


This Notice announces the publication of a new Research Opportunity Announcement (ROA), Development and Application of Ophthalmic Imaging Technologies to Advance Our Understanding of Systemic Diseases (OTA-24-006) and the key dates for submitting Letters of Intent (LOI) and full proposals. The ROA was released on the  NIH Common Fund Venture Program Oculomics Initiative Funding Opportunities website:

Letter of Intent (LOI) Due Date (Required):  April 16, 2024, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant.  LOIs are required. Only invited applicants meeting LOI screening criteria will be eligible to submit a full application.

Notification of LOI Screening results: provided to applicants by April 25, 2024.

Application Due Date: May 27, 2024, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.  Late applications to this ROA will not be accepted.

This initiative is funded through the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting programs that are expected to have an exceptionally high impact. All Common Fund initiatives invite investigators to develop bold, innovative, and often risky approaches to address problems or to seize new opportunities that offer the potential for rapid progress.

This initiative is part of the Venture Program, a new effort within the Common Fund to support novel, short-term, bold initiatives that have the potential for significant impact in biomedical and behavioral research. Venture initiatives are innovative and nimble, introducing additional flexibility for the Common Fund to tackle a wider variety of research topics. Venture initiatives embrace scientific risk and have strong potential to accelerate science rapidly. These short-term initiatives will be supported for a maximum of 3 years and will include clearly defined goals and milestones to facilitate rigorous measurement of research progress. Each Venture initiative is expected to produce specific deliverables, which can be new knowledge, methods, technologies, or devices.

Research Opportunity Announcement OTA-24-006 is issued by the NIH Common Fund Venture Program Oculomics Initiative for the development and application of novel, noninvasive ocular imaging technologies and machine learning algorithms to identify highly sensitive and specific biomarkers for diseases that affect the entire body. Oculomics can have a significant impact on early detection of diseases before the onset of symptoms, and can help clinicians with early disease intervention, risk assessment, tracking disease progression, and supportive therapeutics.

The initiative is not intended to support expansion of previous or ongoing efforts that currently utilize Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), OCT-Angiography (OCTA), or color fundus photography for detection of systemic diseases. However, applications proposing new efforts that utilize OCT, OCTA, or fundus photography and can demonstrate a novel approach and/or clear technological advancement over existing technology may apply.

Applicants must address at least one systemic disease in neurology, cardiovascular, or metabolic diseases/disorders. Applications that focus on more than one systemic disease/disorder, more than one area of disease/disorder or utilize multiple imaging modalities are encouraged.

The initiative encourages but does not require the development of machine learning algorithms to support the application of novel imaging technologies.

By the end of the three-year period of performance, developed technologies should be demonstrated in appropriate animal models of disease or human patients. Products from this initiative are expected to be matured for future clinical validation.

An Informational Webinar will be held for potential applicants April 4, 2024. Registration information for the Webinar and additional information on the ROA will be posted on the Oculomics Initiative website:  Materials from the Webinar will be made available on that website for those unable to attend.

Award Information

The Common Fund may allocate up to $4,800,000 per year total costs (direct + F&A) for up to three years for the Venture Program Oculomics Initiative.  The award(s) are contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. Although three awards each at $1,600,000 TC/year are anticipated, how funds may be split between awards has not been predetermined and will depend on (1) the objectives proposed by the applicants and how well they fit within the goals of Oculomics, (2) the quality of the applications received, (3) availability of funds, and (4) programmatic priorities, but the total for all costs for all awards will be no more than $4,800,000 per year for up to three years.

Eligibility Information

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign applicants) are not eligible to apply.

Non-domestic components of domestic organizations are not eligible.

Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

The following entities are eligible to 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
  • American Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • American Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession


  • Independent School Districts
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)


Please direct all inquiries to:

Tony D. Gover, Ph.D. 
Program Director
National Eye Institute (NEI) 
Telephone: (301) 529-7370 

Mary Ann Wu, Ph.D.
Other Transactions Program Official
Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC) 
Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives  
Office of the Director (OD), NIH
Telephone: (301) 451-6519