Population Health

Application of AI to grand challenges in population health

Programming code displayed on a computer screenThe rapid advances in technological innovation holds great promise for advancing the health and well-being of populations here and around the globe.

The Population Health Initiative seeks to accelerate the application of large language models and generative AI to seemingly intractable grand challenges in population health by issuing a special funding call for interdisciplinary projects that propose exploratory research that serves the public good.

The purpose of this pilot grant funding call is to support faculty and PI-eligible staff to develop preliminary data or proof-of-concept needed to pursue follow-on funding to scale one’s efforts. Awards of up to $100,000 per project will be available with a project period of up to 12 months. Applications are due by Friday, May 10, 2024.

Update: Read more about the five teams awarded funding via this special funding call by visiting our News page.

Application guidelines

This application is open to faculty members and PI-eligible research scientists from all three University of Washington campuses (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma). To encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, applications will only be accepted from project teams that consist of a minimum of two UW principal investigators (PIs), with each holding primary appointments in different and distinct academic departments. Additional PIs or co-PIs beyond this minimum are welcome and encouraged. We also strongly encourage teams to engage community-based partners as PIs and co-PIs for these pilot grants.

Applications must represent a new project, innovation or research direction for each of the PIs. The proposed project should provide preliminary data or proof of concept needed to seek outside funding and support. Grant applications should not be an extension of well-established, ongoing or recently funded studies or projects. Pilot grant applications should not be used to bridge funding for existing work.

If awarded, applicants will be required to submit a mid-project written update to the Population Health Initiative detailing their progress against their project evaluation plan. A final report detailing project accomplishments and final budget reconciliation will be due within 60 calendar days following the end of the funding period.


The timeline for this funding opportunity is:

  • Application Due: May 10, 2024 (11:59 p.m. Pacific)
  • Award Notification Made: early June, 2024
  • Period of Performance: August 1, 2024 – July 31, 2025


Awards of up to $100,000 in total expenses per project are available from the Population Health Initiative. School, college and/or departmental matching funds are encouraged but not required. Matching funds can take the form of either discretionary/non-discretionary monies or in-kind support. Other sponsored research projects cannot be counted as matching funds.

Funds will be disbursed to the department of the lead UW co-investigator for day-to-day administration. Budgets must be able to accept non-discretionary gift funds. Departments that are not accustomed to working with community-based partners can seek administrative support from the Population Health Initiative.

Allowed expenses include:

  • Personnel (i.e., salaries and benefits for faculty and students as well as staff at the UW or a community-based organization)
  • Equipment, materials and supplies
  • Travel, including airfare, transportation, and per diem (lodging, meals and expenses)
  • Tuition for graduate students
  • Other direct costs related to the project (must detail the expense and include rationale)

Unallowable expenses include:

  • Indirect/overhead costs
  • Publication and patent cost
  • Office supplies
  • Administrative support
  • Hosting expenses (e.g., receptions, alcohol)
  • Marketing efforts

All allowable expenses must adhere to applicable University of Washington policies. Please contact your department’s finance lead with questions regarding such expenses. In addition, an Office of Sponsored Programs review is not needed prior to submitting an application.

Review criteria

Successful pilot grant applications should:

  • Demonstrate how the proposed project will position the project team to secure preliminary data or proof-of-concept.
  • Propose a framework, methods, approach and analyses that are adequate and appropriate to the aims of the project.
  • Propose a project that is feasible within the 12-month limit.
  • Detail an evaluation plan that clearly describes the outcome the project team is seeking and how it will be used to pursue additional funding or concept development (i.e., the measure of a successful project).

These pilot grant applications are encouraged, but not required, to include the following:

  • Partial or full funding match (in funds or in kind) from the Co-PIs’ schools/colleges/departments.
  • Propose a community-engaged research project.

Members of the Population Health Initiative executive council will review and score all applications, and will, if needed, consult with appropriate subject matter experts as part of the evaluation process. Awards will be granted to the highest-scoring applications. Applications that include matching funds will receive priority in the event that two proposals receive the same review score.

Application format

Applications must meet the following standards:

  • Submitted as a single PDF file
  • Paper size no larger than standard letter (i.e., 8 ½” x 11”)
  • Margins of at least 0.5 inch (top, bottom, left and right)
  • Single-spaced
  • Eleven-point font or larger using either Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman
  • Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%
  • We do not require a specific citation format

Each application must contain the following sections:

  1. Completed cover sheet (project title, total budget, applicant names).
  2. Abstract (250 word maximum).
  3. Research Plan (two pages, including tables and visuals but excluding references).
  4. Evaluation Plan and Timeline (one page).
  5. Biographies for all investigators (limit of 250 words per investigator).
  6. Budget and budget justification (one-page limit).
  7. Please provide verification of matching funds if a cost share is proposed. A .pdf of an email from the individual making the commitment is sufficient.
  8. Letters of support are not required but will be accepted. Limit of two.

Download application template

Submit an application

Applications for this special spring quarter 2024 round of funding can be submitted beginning on April 1, 2024. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on Friday, May 10, 2024.

The application must be submitted as a single .pdf file through the following online submission portal.

Review by the Office of Sponsored Programs is not needed.

Submit an Application

Please contact us with any questions regarding this pilot research grant or the application process.