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PhRMA Foundation Announces Call for Equity-Focused Research on Digital Health Tools

July 17, 2023

A new grant program will provide more than $1 million in funding for research on the use of digital health technologies in underrepresented populations.

The nonprofit PhRMA Foundation launched a new grant program to provide more than $1 million in funding for research on the use of digital health technologies (DHTs) in underrepresented populations in clinical trials to advance FDA regulatory decision-making.

Based on applicants’ letters of intent, the Foundation will award up to eight $25,000 planning grants to support the development of detailed research proposals to compete for two $500,000 grants. Planning grant award recipients will also be offered a $5,000 promotional credit from Amazon Web Services (AWS) toward institutional use of AWS services. AWS will also provide scientific and technical subject-matter expertise to support the development of a proof of concept and/or refinement of existing cloud architecture on AWS.

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital health tools such as sensors, apps, and wearables by allowing for the continuation of medical research while minimizing the risk of spreading disease,” PhRMA Foundation President Amy M. Miller, PhD, said. “These tools hold incredible promise for advancing research, but we must ensure that we are thoughtfully designing and implementing them to promote health equity and not exacerbating existing disparities in the health care ecosystem.”

The PhRMA Foundation seeks to fund research aimed at answering critical questions regarding the use of DHTs for regulatory decision-making for diverse populations. Research funded by this program could be directed toward the generation of evidence to support the verification, validation, and/or qualification of DHTs to measure and/or capture data across diverse populations. Funds could also be used to examine the use of DHTs in clinical trial recruitment, retention, and participation, especially for populations underrepresented in research.

Strong research proposals will:

  • Clearly address an unmet need related to diversity/equity in medical research
  • Include collaboration with community and/or patient groups
  • Include collaboration with pharmaceutical, device, or technology companies
  • Demonstrate feasibility through preliminary data or provide details on how data will be gathered/accessed for the study
  • Explain how study outputs will impact regulatory decision-making to advance the use of DHTs in clinical research

Eligible applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must be employed full time at an accredited U.S. university or research institution.

Empowering Health Care Equity: Harnessing Digital Health Tools for Inclusive Regulatory Decision-Making

Letters of intent are due by September 29, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT.