Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the drop-down menus to open and close the Frequently Asked Questions specific to each topic listed below.
1. What is the Common Fund?
The NIH Common Fund, managed by the Office of Strategic Coordination in the Office of the Director, supports cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs that require participation by multiple Institutes and Centers. Common Fund programs are intended to be transformative, catalytic, synergistic, cross-cutting, and unique. This program is a short-term, goal-driven strategic investment, with deliverables intended to catalyze research across multiple biomedical research disciplines. More information can be found at https://commonfund.nih.gov/about.
2. What makes a good application for a Common Fund program?
Common Fund programs are designed to support actively managed, milestone-driven projects that are different from mainstream studies such as R01 or P01. These projects are expected to work together to address key roadblocks in emerging fields that will transform the way biomedical research is conducted. Reviewers will evaluate whether a project proposes an incremental improvement or a significant advancement which will transform the field.
3. Why was the NIH Common Fund's Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) program created?
Rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) analysis in recent years show promise in discovering new biomedical and behavioral research insights (that are often surprising). In 2018, members of the AI/ML and computational biomedicine research communities, and in 2019, the AI Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, presented visions to propel progress of AI/ML methods in biomedical and behavioral research. These groups encouraged NIH to stimulate widespread adoption of AI/ML models that can tackle cross-cutting biomedical and behavioral research grand challenges. The NIH Common Fund’s Bridge2AI program was created in response to these recommendations and aims to harness the emerging power of AI/ML models for human health, beginning with an ‘analysis-first’ approach that values the machine-understandability of data and incorporates ethical principles surrounding data collection and use.
4. What is the goal of the Bridge2AI program?
The goal of the Bridge2AI program is to generate flagship data sets and best practices for the collection and preparation of AI/ML-ready data to address biomedical and behavioral research grand challenges. This goal will be accomplished by:
- Generating new flagship biomedical and behavioral data sets that are ethically sourced, trustworthy, well-defined, and accessible
- Developing software and standards to unify data attributes across multiple data sources and across data types
- Creating automated tools to accelerate the creation of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and ethically sourced data sets
- Providing resources to disseminate data, ethical principles, tools, and best practices
- Creating training materials and activities for workforce development that bridges the AI, biomedical, and behavioral research communities
5. How is the Bridge2AI program structured?
The Bridge2AI program will use biomedical and behavioral research grand challenges to drive the development of ethics, standards, tools, data sets, and skills and workforce development strategies for linking scientific workflows, protocols, and other information about the data collection process into computable knowledge. The Bridge2AI program plans to support interdisciplinary Data Generation Projects (NOT-RM-21-022) and a complementary cross-cutting Integration, Dissemination, and Evaluation (BRIDGE) Center (NOT-RM-21-021). Teams funded through these two planned opportunities will be expected to interact and collaborate regularly to complete cross-cutting Bridge2AI program goals.
Applications are not being solicited at this time. The NIH plans to publish two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), the estimated publication date for these FOAs is June 2021.
6. What is the Common Fund Data Ecosystem (CFDE) and will the Bridge2AI program participate?
The Common Fund Data Ecosystem (CFDE) is intended to make Common Fund data sets more impactful by enabling data discovery, access, interoperability, and reuse. Common Fund data sets include large data sets and associated digital tools needed to mine and analyze the data. To help maximize their impact, CFDE is creating a portal or central access point for Common Fund data sets, tools, and other digital objects, through which users can access and compute on data in a cloud environment. This CFDE portal is not designed as a data repository or platform but will instead link multiple data platforms that have been established through Common Fund programs and create cloud workspaces for users to access and compute on data across the different platforms. While users may continue to access an individual data set via the platform created for that data set, the CFDE will foster new discoveries and support different types of analyses by enabling queries of multiple data sets simultaneously. The CFDE will provide user support through automated help tools, online courses, webinars, and in-person training events. By providing infrastructure, advice, resources, best practices, common components, and services to fit the needs of Common Fund programs, the CFDE will increase the utility of Common Fund digital objects by making them more findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable, also known as FAIR. The CFDE will require a collaborative effort, involving Common Fund Data Coordinating Centers who represent the data generators for each program, and a central coordinating component known as the CFDE Coordinating Center (CFDE-CC).
The Bridge2AI program will be structured to facilitate engagement in the CFDE. Bridge2AI projects are expected to interact with the CFDE to ensure the interoperability and compatibility of common software standards and tools with the CFDE and other Common Fund datasets and resources. Interoperability and compatibility with the CFDE includes, but is not limited to: sharing persistent identifiers of publicly available data sets, submitting metadata harmonized to a CFDE data model, and ensuring access to Bridge2AI data assets in a cloud environment.
For more information, please visit https://commonfund.nih.gov/dataecosystem/faqs
7. What is the Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) Initiative?
As the scale of data-related research grows, NIH continues to explore opportunities to support NIH researchers’ use of the cloud for data storage and compute. The STRIDES Initiative enables NIH and NIH-funded investigators to more easily take advantage of cloud services. The STRIDES Initiative has negotiated agreements with commercial cloud service providers (CSPs) for 1) discounted rates on cloud services, 2) access to professional services to provide support on how to use the cloud effectively, 3) access to training to help learn more about the cloud and its capabilities, and 4) the potential for collaborative engagements to explore topics of special interest to NIH.
For more information, please visit https://commonfund.nih.gov/dataecosystem/faqs
8. Where can I find more information about Bridge2AI?
Stay tuned for updates on funding announcements and the latest news from the Bridge2AI program by visiting the program website: www.commonfund.nih.gov/bridge2ai regularly and subscribing to the Bridge2AI listserv.
9. Who should I contact with questions?
Questions about the Bridge2AI program can be sent to email@example.com.
10. What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is it different than Machine Learning (ML)?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad concept that encompasses the idea of machines being able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Machine Learning (ML) is an application (or subset) of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that provides machines (like computers) the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience, without being explicitly programmed. The intention of ML is to enable machines to learn by themselves using provided information (data) to make accurate predictions.
11. Why is AI/ML being used for research? How will AI/ML help improve human health?
There are a number of biomedical and behavioral research applications that would benefit from AI/ML approaches. For example, using AI/ML to decode the functional genome in order to understand how genomic variations affect outcomes in health, or to develop digital twins—a virtual representation of a living system used to monitor health, predict adverse events, assist clinical decision making, and/or personalize treatments. Using AI/ML approaches to help computers “understand” the conditions in which data are collected and the questions that data are intended to answer will unlock the potential of this information to transform science and human health.
12. How will you make sure the AI/ML developed by the Bridge2AI program is safe and ethical?
Ensuring the development of ethical and trustworthy AI/ML is a critical component of the Bridge2AI program. The unique ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of biomedical and behavioral AI/ML research in addition to principles of trustworthy AI/ML will be a key component of the Bridge2AI program.
13. What will the Integration, Dissemination, and Evaluation (BRIDGE) Center do?
The BRIDGE Center will be responsible for integrating activities and knowledge across Data Generation Projects, disseminating products, best-practices, and workforce development materials/activities, and evaluating all aspects of the Bridge2AI program with input from external stakeholder communities. The BRIDGE Center will combine cores of expertise in team science, ethics, standards, tools optimization, and skills and workforce development. Please see NOT-RM-21-021 for additional information.
14. How many BRIDGE Centers will the Bridge2AI program support?
The Bridge2AI program plans to support one BRIDGE Center that will include multiple cores:
- Administrative Core
- Teaming Core
- Ethics Core
- Standards Core
- Tool Optimization and Dissemination Core
- Skills and Workforce Development Core
15. Should a potential BRIDGE Center application include multiple cores?
Yes, each potential BRIDGE Center application should include an Administrative Core and one or more of the following optional cores: Teaming, Ethics, Standards, Tool Optimization, Skills and Workforce Development. Cores will be individually reviewed and individual cores from different applications may be selected and funded to work collaboratively as a single BRIDGE Center. Applications are not being solicited at this time.
16. When will there be a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the BRIDGE Center?
Applications are not being solicited at this time. The NIH plans to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the estimated publication date for the BRIDGE center FOA is June 2021.
17. When will BRIDGE center Teaming Activities take place?
The Bridge2AI program is currently developing teaming activities for potential applicants, please continue to check the website regularly and subscribe to the Bridge2AI listserv for updates.
BRIDGE Center (NOT-RM-21-021) Questions BRIDGE Center (NOT-RM-21-021) Questions General Questions
18. What is a Data Generation Project "grand challenge"?
Bridge2AI Data Generation Projects will be centered around biomedical and/or behavioral research "grand challenges" that promote broad uses for modern AI/ML models. Examples of grand challenges are provided in NOT-RM-21-022. The Bridge2AI program is currently developing Teaming Activities for potential applicants, please continue to check the website regularly and subscribe to the Bridge2AI listserv for updates.
19. What is an Other Transactions (OT) Award?
The Other Transactions Authority is governed by 42 U.S. Code § 282 (n)(1)(b). Other Transactions (OT) are not grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts. They are used by the NIH to provide considerable flexibility in establishing policies for the awards; policies and terms for individual OT awards may vary between awards, each negotiated with a specific agreement, which may be expanded, modified, partnered, not supported, or later discontinued based on program needs, changing research landscape and or availability of funds.
20. Who is eligible to apply for an Other Transaction (OT) Award?
For a list of anticipated eligible organizations please see the Notice of Intent to Publish (NOT-RM-21-022). Applications for Bridge2AI Data Generation Projects are not being solicited at this time.
21. How do I form a team around my Grand Challenge Team Building Idea?
Prospective applicants are required to participate in Bridge2AI teaming activities to ensure their application is responsive to the Bridge2I program. The Bridge2AI program is currently developing teaming activities for potential applicants, please continue to check the website regularly and subscribe to the Bridge2AI listserv for updates.
22. When will there be a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Data Generation Projects?
Applications are not being solicited at this time. The NIH plans to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the estimated publication date for the Data Generation Projects FOA is June 2021.
23. When will Data Generation Projects Teaming Activities take place?
The Bridge2AI program is currently developing Teaming Activities for potential applicants, please continue to check the website regularly and subscribe to the Bridge2AI listserv for updates.
This page last reviewed on April 8, 2021