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Artificial Intelligence Award - Frequently Asked Questions





How does an Artificial Intelligence Award competition work?

Please note that the process varies for Phase 1-3 and Phase 4.

The application process for Phase 1-3 is run in two stages:

Stage 1 expressions of interest must meet all award specifications and funding prerequisites to be considered for review. Applications that do not meet these essential requirements may be rejected at this stage. Eligible applications will be reviewed against the AI Fund Phase 1-3 assessment criteria and a selection of applications will be shortlisted and invited to submit a full application. All applicants will be notified of the outcome. Due to the volume of applications we may not be able to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants at this stage.

The Stage 2 (full application) process varies with the phases:

  • For Phase 1, an application form and a 3 minute video pitch must be submitted and will be reviewed by expert and public panel members.
  • For Phase 2 and 3, an application form must be submitted and will be subject to peer review. Applicants will have the opportunity to provide a response to reviewers’ comments (rebuttals) and will be invited to present their project at the panel meeting.

For Phase 4, potential applicants are required to self-assess against a number of pre-requisites needed to progress to a full application. Applicants will then be required to submit a full application which will undergo a multi-stage assessment process. For further information please see the Phase 4 Guidance

How can I find out whether my application is within remit or which Phase to apply to?

Please refer to information on the website and applicant guidance. We would recommend that you complete a pre-submission enquiry form with details of your proposed project and a member of the AI Award team will be in contact. 

How do I submit an application?

Applications must be made through the online application portal. A template application form may be downloaded from the website, however, please note that this is for demonstration purposes only and may not be used to submit an application.

The ‘System Help’ document found on the application portal’s web pages provides extensive step by step instructions on how to make use of the portal.

Can I submit more than one application?

You may submit multiple applications, however, the differences and synergies between the applications must be made absolutely clear in your proposals.

What is the deadline for applications?

4 March 2020, 1:00pm

Late submissions will not be accepted unless there is a technical fault of the application portal.

How will applications be selected for funding?

All submitted applications will be reviewed and assessed by a multidisciplinary expert group of selected assessors and a final assessment panel. Funding recommendations will be ratified by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement, subject to sufficient funds.

When will I find out if my application has been successful?

Please see our website for up-to-date information regarding application outcomes and deadlines. Outcomes for Stage 2 applications will be communicated w/c 15 June earliest (Phase 1) and w/c 6 July earliest (Phase 2 and 3). 

How many projects will be funded?

The AI Awards in Health and Care Award will deploy £140m over three years. In the first year, Phases 1-3 have an indicative budget of £2-7m, Phase 4 has an indicative budget of £5-10m. Sinces Phases 2-4 having no upper or lower funding limits, it is not possible to indicate how many projects will be funded. 

Who should I contact if I have any questions?

Please email or call 020 8843 8143.

How important is Patient and Public Engagement?

Patient and Public involvement is included as part of the assessment criteria for full applications and should therefore be treated as important. If you require support, we would recommend contacting your local Research Design Service.

Do AI Health and Care Award applications require a specific referencing style?

For Phases 1-4, please use Vancouver or Harvard style format.

Where can I find more information on what to include as NHS support and treatment costs?

Please contact your local Clinical Research Network.



Am I eligible to submit an application?

To be eligible to submit an application to Phases 1-3, you must be affiliated with a Higher Education Institute, Small or Medium Sized Enterprise, NHS Organisation, or Charity. Please note that the lead applicant must be based in the UK.

To be eligible to submit an application to Phase 4, you must be affiliated with a Higher Education Institute, an enterprise of any size, NHS Organisation, or Charity. The lead organisation may be based anywhere in the world.

I am a pre-startup company, may I apply?

Yes, but the contract can only be awarded to legal entities so at the time of contracting you need to have registered your company.

I work for an organisation developing a technology for social care applications, am I eligible to apply?

Yes, organisations that develop or provide social care products or services may apply. This includes SMEs and local authorities.

I am part of a large company (i.e not an SME). Can I apply?

Large companies may not apply for Phase 1-3 funding, however, they may be project partners supporting collaborative projects (for example through in kind contributions).

If you are a large enterprise looking to submit an application to Phase 4, we welcome your application but will discuss financial contributions during the process of assessment and selection.

My company is a registered charity, can I apply?

Yes, registered charities are equally eligible to enter AI Award competitions.

I am based outside of England, am I eligible to apply?

Organisations within the UK are eligible to apply for and Lead Phase 1-3 applications. Organisations outside of the UK may lead a Phase 4 application or be a collaborator on a Phase 1-3 project. Overseas co-applicants must be reasonably justified and all projects must show a clear health benefit to the UK. 

Can sub-contractors from outside England be used?

Yes, as long as the applicants can demonstrate how this will benefit the UK health and social care system.

Can I apply for Phase 1 funding for more than 12 months?

No, the maximum requested project duration is not negotiable.

Do Joint Lead Applicants need to be from different organisations?

Joint Lead applicants can be from the same or different organisations.



Who owns the Intellectual Property (IP) generated by a project?

In general, foreground IP will be owned by the Lead organisations.There will be situations where foreground IP might be owned by Collaborating organisations. This will be agreed on a case-by-case basis during contract negotiations. 

As an SME, can I work in collaboration with other companies?

Yes, you can work in collaboration with other companies. 



As a large company, can I receive funding?

Large companies may not apply for Phase 1-3 funding, however, they may be project partners supporting collaborative projects (for example through in kind contributions).

If you are a large enterprise looking to submit an application to Phase 4, we welcome your application but will discuss financial contributions during the process of assessment and selection.

As a university, should I use full Economic Costing (fEC)?

Yes, the same rules apply as for all NIHR competitions.

Should project costs include VAT?

Yes, project costs may be included if VAT is recoverable

Can overheads/indirect costs be included in project costs?

Overheads may be included for Universities and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises with justification. NHS Organisations should recover overheads through the Research Capability Fund. Please read the AI Award guidelines (Appendix 2) for more detailed information. 

During the project, how are funds distributed to Collaborators?

The lead organisation will be paid in arrears and is responsible for distributing funds to Collaborators.

Can the cost of capital equipment be included within an application?

Capital equipment costing up to £5k can be included