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Center for Machine Learning and Health

2021 Call for Proposals

The Center for Machine Learning and Health (CMLH) is pleased to announce its summer/fall 2021 proposal solicitation for translational research projects!

The CMLH is one of two research and development centers operating under the umbrella of the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance formed by UPMC Enterprises, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

The mission of the CMLH is to fund innovative, transformative research and development in all aspects of digital healthcare with the goal of generating commercial systems and tools for improving the quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of healthcare. Participation is open to faculty across the entire university.

The CMLH is technology agnostic. Enabling technology from computer science, biology, engineering, policy, operations, design, behavioral/social sciences and the arts, and more are all possible drivers or components of novel, interdisciplinary digital solutions that address unmet needs in healthcare. We are open to all ideas that faculty deem relevant from disciplines across the university.

Research teams are encouraged to incorporate researchers and/or clinical collaborators from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. These diverse teams are especially appealing as they promote insights that support the transition of the technology from the lab to the clinical environment.

Awards and Funding Scope

CMLH funding provides for one-year applied research projects anticipated to have budgets in the low six figures (including university overhead). After one year, projects may attract more funding to refine the technology and/or its development for commercialization. The CMLH and UPMC Enterprises will make final decisions as to the size of funding allocations. During the evaluation process, the CMLH and UPMC Enterprises will help identify potential clinical and data-transaction partners, and provide guidance related to commercialization potential, as needed.

The CMLH provides services that support PIs throughout the entire process: proposal development support, post-funding project support and more.

Focus Areas

The CMLH is looking for compelling science that creates value for stakeholders, including patients and caregivers, providers, payers, and healthcare institutions. The four broad focus areas below present some but not all of the relevant challenges that your project may be designed to address. Projects should strive to bridge the gap between research and practice, and present a line of sight to commercial application.


Using NLP, ML, statistical models, etc. and applying those methods to topics such as, but not limited to: immunotherapy, immunology, prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, skin cancer, ovarian cancer, genomics, and cancer biology.

Women and Children’s Health

Using NLP, ML, statistical models, etc. and applying those methods to topics such as, but not limited to: maternal fetal medicine, diabetes, mammography and imaging, women’s wellness in underserved populations, infectious disease, blood disorders, medical genetics, cardiology, pathology, neurology, and stress and depression in children.

Drug and Target Discovery

Using computational and data science approaches to identify new drugs or targets, identify most promising candidates, accelerate the process to trials, or leverage post-trial data.

Digital Therapeutics

Deliver evidence-based therapeutic interventions to prevent, manage or treat a broad spectrum of physical, mental and behavioral conditions. Improve treatment protocols for chronic conditions by leveraging technology to personalize interventions and add more regular touchpoints to support outcomes.

For additional insight, an overview of CMLH projects can be found on the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance website.

Timeline and Deadlines

  • May 18: Call for Proposals Opens
  • July 6: *Intent to Propose (ITP) Deadline
  • September 8: Proposal Deadline
  • September-October: Review Process
  • October: Finalists Selected
  • Week of October 18 (anticipated): Presentations

ITP and Review Process

The NEW submission process for 2021 includes the Intent to Propose (ITP) form. The ITP is now mandatory and is the first step to be considered for funding. ITPs will be accepted any time between May 18 and July 6, 2021. Only selected projects will be invited to submit a full proposal based on review of the ITP. You must submit an ITP in order to be considered for a proposal invitation. 

A CMLH ITP Resource Guide is available for your reference. (PDF reader required.)

A panel of reviewers consisting of CMU faculty, senior CMLH staff, UPMC Enterprises team members and UPMC experts will review the ITPs and invited proposals. Finalists will be asked to give a presentation pitching their project to CMLH and UPMC Enterprises staff. Final award decisions will be made collaboratively by the CMLH and UPMC Enterprises. 

Proposals will be competitively reviewed using the following factors:

  • Novelty/uniqueness of the proposed technology.
  • Advantage over competing or existing solutions.
  • Potential impact and value to healthcare stakeholders.
  • Tangible deliverables that support further fundable development and provide a basis for commercialization (e.g., pre-market prototypes).
  • Potential for unencumbered intellectual property.
  • The robustness of the team.

Submit the completed 2021 ITP form via email to


All researchers, faculty and students participating in research projects funded through the CMLH must acknowledge and agree to the terms of the CMLH Agreement and the Alliance Agreement. Contact the CMLH at with any questions regarding the agreements or for other questions about the CFP.