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  • Writer's pictureNancy Griffin

The a2 Collective Funded by NIA Launches Annual National Competition

National Institute on Aging earmarks $40 million over the next 5 years to fund AI and technology projects that improve the lives of older Americans.

The a2 Collective’s has launched the AI/Tech + Aging Pilot Awards (a2 Pilot Awards). Funded by the National Institute of Health, the national competition will fund technology projects that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) approaches and technology to improve care and health outcomes for older Americans. including persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) and their caregivers. The a2 Collective represents the National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) Artificial Intelligence and Technology Collaboratories (AITC) for Aging Research program, which is dedicated to helping Americans live longer, healthier lives through the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies.

Partners include Rose Li & Associates, John’s Hopkins AI & Technology Collaboratory for Aging Research, Massachusetts AI & Technology Center – for Connected Care in Aging & Alzheimer's Disease (, and PennAITech; innovation in Artificial Intelligence for Aging. Successful projects may be selected for multi-year commitments and be more competitive for follow-on Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding. Pilot awardees may also receive access to the study sites, datasets, and resources at each AITC as well as mentorship from industry and university experts, major health care systems, and venture capitalists.

The a2 Collective is currently hosting the second annual a2 Pilot Awards, a national pilot project competition seeking to fund promising technology demonstration projects with a clear path to commercialization, translational milestones, or technology transfer at the intersection of AI and healthy aging and/or AD/ADRD. Private companies, research organizations, tech startups, and traditional NIH/NIA investigators are encouraged to apply. Applications for the second annual a2 Pilot Awards will be accepted from July 1 through August 15, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET.

Stephen Liu, co-founder and managing director of the AI/Tech + Aging a2 Collective spoke to Keren Etkin, Founder of The Gerontechnologist and host of the AgeTech podcast about the program:

The overall mission of the, of the program is to empower innovation and AI and aging. We’re really dedicated to helping Americans live longer healthier lives with the application of artificial intelligence and emerging technology and the A2 collective hosts, the A2 pilot awards, which is on an annual basis. The AITC program has earmarked about $40 million over the next five years to fund these technology-based pilot demonstration projects that precede types of technology. They have a prototype it’s ready to go. It’s ready to test. We’re looking for the things that are going to move the needle the next, you know, two to five years. The a2 Collection consists of three research laboratories and also a coordinating center run by Rose Li Associates. Dr. Rose Lee is a former NIA branch chief.

I come from the Silicon Valley world, and as I look at this, there is a shortage of AI engineers that can do serious research work globally. They’re all being hired by Google and Amazon. I don’t think they realize how big of a market opportunity, how big of an impact they can make on our US healthcare system kind a social impact level. It’s my personal agenda is to get some of these people to take more bets in aging in Alzheimer’s disease because in the next 10 years it’s going to be a big problem and a great market opportunity.

Visit AI collective’s website to apply for the a2 Pilot Awards, including the webinar explaining the program. Deadline for application is August 15.

View the webinar hosted by the a2 Collective here.


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