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AI and Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Care - FAQ


This document provides answers to questions frequently asked at the Q&A drop in session for prospective applicants on 08 April 2021.

Please note further information can be found in the Competition Brief, including Applicant Guidance and Finance Guidance.

For email support for this call and your application, please contact where we can triage your query. Please note however we can only comment on eligibility of your proposal, not the content of the proposal itself.


What is the limit for Co-Applicants to be included in the Application?

A maximum of 10 co-applicants is permitted (which includes the joint lead applicant if included).

Can the same person be named as both Administrative and R&D contact?

Yes, if that is the appropriate person for both.

How many projects do you expect to fund?

The total award budget is £1.55 million combining both sub-categories. Taking into account the range of funding available for both, we would expect to fund between 2-3 applications for sub-category 1, and between 2 to 5 applications for sub-category 2.

My funding request is outside the range of funding available for the sub-categories. Is my application precluded?

Each of the sub-categories has a range of funding set, and we would expect applications to request award amounts in those ranges. Applications outside the range are not eligible.


Are there any high priority themes, e.g. COVID, cancer, CVD that applicants should focus on?

There is no prescribed healthcare theme or high priority area for this call.

Does ethnicity have to be the main issue addressed for this call?

The aim of this research call is to support the advancement of AI-driven technologies in health and care to improve health outcomes for minority ethnic populations in the UK. It does not preclude projects whose activities and findings have applicability across different population groups in addition to minority ethnic populations.

Can I apply to this call if my research is not specifically focused on realising benefits for minority ethnic groups, but benefits minority ethnic groups alongside other population groups?

Given that the focus of the research is on optimising AI for minority ethnic groups, it is important to be clear in your application about what difference the research will make to these groups. However, the focus of the call does not preclude projects whose activities and findings have applicability across different population groups in addition to minority ethnic populations. We are interested in learning how the findings of the proposed research activities could be applicable to other underserved groups.

Is there an expectation for NHSX AI Lab to provide the AI expertise or would it be acceptable if AI capabilities are provided by another party? The call proposes that applications draw on data from the NHSX AI Lab. Is this correct? And is there a way of identifying what types of data resources may be available?

We expect the application to include all necessary expertise, including AI, within the team or via agreed third party. Should your application be funded, if appropriate, we would expect you to work with the NHS AI Lab to integrate findings into guidance/ tools/ best-practice.This includes access to datasets which will need to be planned for by the applicants as part of their application.

Would you expect a significant contribution in terms of collecting new data sets?

The competition brief does provide example outputs for each sub-category. Generation of new datasets would be an allowable output of the research but not a requirement for all projects.

Can we apply for funding to capture data about ethnicity from existing cohorts of patients as part of a proposal?

The proposal may include utilising existing data from patient cohorts, or indeed result in generating new datasets. This will depend on the nature of the proposal. All necessary approvals should be obtained.

If the required data has been collected (with consent), would you view this as fulfilling the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) element?

Data collection must comply with all regulatory and ethical frameworks pertaining to data. This is separate from our requirement for Patient and Public Involvement (PPI). Patients, the public, service users and carers all bring valuable perspectives to a project. It is important that applications draw on this knowledge, skill and lived experience. We particularly encourage the inclusion of co-applicants with experience of working on equality and diversity initiatives in relation to health or social care. Please refer to the Public Co-Applicants in Research guidance.

Application process

How does the Artificial Intelligence and Ethinic and Racial Inequalities in Health and Care Award competition work?

The application process is run in one stage. Applicants to this call must submit their application on the Programme Management Office (PMO) RMS portal. Applications must meet the criteria set out in the Competition Brief.

Once applications are submitted and call closes on 28 April at 1pm, the applications are checked by members of the PMO for eligibility. Proposals that meet the award eligibility criteria will be assessed against the Assessment criteria reported in the competition brief and scored by a selected Panel of experts. Shortlisted applications will then undergo independent expert peer and public review. Applicants will have access to the anonymised reviewers’ comments prior to the Panel meeting.

On the Panel meeting day, shortlisted applicants are invited to provide a 10 minute presentation followed by a 15 minute Question and Answer. A closed discussion by the Panel members then proceeds. All Panel Members (except those conflicted) score each application and funding recommendations are submitted for ratification.

How are the applications assessed? Are you looking for innovative ideas?

The applications will be assessed on a number of criteria, which includes whether the proposed solution is innovative. Please refer to the Assessment criteria which covers other aspects and which is included within the Guidance for Applicants.

Can my organisation apply as a lead applicant? Can the research be conducted overseas?

The host organisation must be based in the UK and the research must be conducted in the UK and demonstrate benefit to the UK, taking account of the UK's diverse ethnic populations. International organisations are not eligible to be the host organisation. Data from outside of the UK that has relevance to the UK can support your application. The host organisation may be a UK-based Higher Education Institution (HEI), third sector organisation, NHS organisation or provider of NHS or social care services, or not for profit organisation.

Can my organisation apply to both sub-categories?

We encourage applicants to submit their strongest application, however, you may submit to each sub-category provided each application meets the brief for each sub-category. You must then demonstrate that you have adequate resources and time to deliver both projects without compromising the quality of delivery, should both of your applications be funded.

Can I be a Co-Applicant on more than one application?

There is no restriction on co-applicants being named on more than one application. It would be for the Lead Applicant and co-applicant to ensure adequate resources are in place to cover all funded applications.

Collaborations and Sub-contracts

Is it mandatory to have a collaborator organisation from the UK only or it can be from other countries as well? Are there any requirements or expectations for applications to be supported by multiple agencies and/or commercial partners?

Collaborations are encouraged and collaborations with organisations outside the UK may be permitted, but must be justified and also demonstrate patient/public benefit in the UK.

Do you expect letters of support from collaborators?

Letters of support from collaborators are not mandatory but are welcomed if they will support your specific application. Please note that if you receive a successful funding outcome, formal agreements should be put in place between the participating parties. Please note that only one A4 side of supporting documentation may be included as a non-mandatory upload in Section 7 of the application form.

Can industry organisations be lead applicants or collaborators or sub-contractors?

Industry organisations are not eligible as lead applicants unless they can demonstrate to be a not-for-profit venture.
They may, however, act as a collaborator if they provide their knowledge contribution in kind to the research. Alternatively they may also deliver specific service activity for a fee under a sub-contractor agreement.


Please refer to the Finance guidance before you submit your application.

For the Director of Finance sign off, is that the lead applicant, or the usual signatory?

The Director of Finance is that designated role in the organisation. It may be the same as the lead applicant, although this is unlikely to be the case in HEIs or Trusts.

Do the costs need to be detailed at this stage? (E.g. exact data collection costs may not be finalised at this stage)

This is a one stage application and your costs should be accurately detailed in the proposal.

Is the contract amount inclusive or exclusive of VAT?

For sub-category 1 applications, the research will be supported as a charitable award and as such is not liable for VAT. Where an award-holder requires sub-contracting an activity to a third party then VAT on the stated sub-contract is allowed and should be included within the budget for the award.

If you are applying to sub-category 2 and your organisation is unable to reclaim/recover the VAT on a piece of equipment, you should include VAT.

How can we give names of people for the charity funded aspect since that will only fund Directly Incurred Costs?

Sub-category 1 funded by the Health Foundation will pay Directly Incurred costs. Named Co-Applicants in the application should be included under 'staff posts and salaries' and 'annual costs of staff posts' on the separate finance form.


For further enquiries please contact