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The NIH Common Fund Announces New Funding Opportunities to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity

March 26, 2021
NIH UNITE: Ending Structural Racism

The NIH has established a new initiative called UNITE to end structural racism and racial inequities throughout the biomedical research enterprise. Part of ending racial inequities in biomedical research will be to ensure NIH-supported research benefits the health of all populations, especially those whose health is negatively impacted by racism. For this reason, conducting new research into health disparities, minority health, and health equity is an important goal of UNITE.  

As part of UNITE, the NIH Common Fund issued two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to bolster innovation, solve challenges, and address health disparities and advance health equity: 

  • RFA-RM-21-021 Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity (U01 Clinical Trial Allowed)
  • RFA-RM-21-022 Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity at Minority Serving Institutions (U01 Clinical Trial Allowed)

The FOAs will support collaborative investigative teams or individual scientists who propose unusually innovative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact in developing, disseminating, or implementing innovative and effective interventions and/or strategies that prevent, reduce, or eliminate health disparities and inequities. Additionally, funding opportunity RFA-RM-21-022 is expected to increase the competitiveness of investigators and expand the research base dedicated to health disparities research at minority serving institutions. Research addressing community-prioritized research questions, cross-cutting issues such as social determinants of health across sectors, multiple levels and systems that contribute to health disparities, and/or priority areas of multiple NIH Institutes and Centers are particularly encouraged.

Projects may include a formative observational component; however, each project is required to include an intervention component. To be considered transformative, projects should reflect ideas substantially different from mainstream concepts and have high potential to lead to major improvements in health through the development, implementation, or dissemination of highly innovative interventions to address health disparities and advance health equity. 

NIH staff intend to hold a Pre-Application Webinar for all interested prospective applicants. The webinar date and other details will be posted on

NIH staff will be available to answer questions related to these FOAs. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available at

All applications are due on May 28, 2021 by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. If you have questions about the FOAs, please email

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