Mycroft Cognitive Assistant

Supporting the NIH research grant application process

Developed by Open Health Systems Laboratory, Inc.

Powered by IBM’s Watson

The Mycroft Cognitive Assistant® (Mycroft) is designed to provide research universities and medical centers with support and assistance in applying for research grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH provides approximately $23 billion in extramural grants and R&D contracts to U.S. and foreign higher education institutions, research institutes, hospitals and others. However, the pursuit of this pool of funds is highly competitive – only 1 in 5 grant proposals typically funded – and time-consuming – each proposal requiring hundreds of hours of research and preparation. Individual universities and medical schools spend tremendous amounts of human resources chasing after this limited resource, with careers, tenure, and academic reputations hanging in the balance.

Each institution has their own way of assessing their research strength, and the success its research staff has in securing NIH grant and contract support. Some may focus on the number of dollars raised per investigator, while others may use criteria related to grant revenue per square foot of research space. Nonetheless, all research institutions are interested in ways to increase the amount of research support received, while reducing the amount of time needed to prepare each research proposal.

Introducing Mycroft

Mycroft is designed to make the process of applying for NIH research grants more efficient. Going beyond simple form preparation software, Mycroft uses IBM’s Watson to apply cognitive computing power to the NIH grant process, allowing scientists to develop better proposals in less time. Mycroft can assist investigators in monitoring and identifying the appropriate grant program. It can help build the ideal research team, including analysis of the gaps in expertise and knowledge and suggesting new team members. And Mycroft can assist by amassing the necessary background research, journal articles and other data needed to support the basic research proposal and help frame the essential question(s) to be investigated. By using Mycroft, research institutions can speed up the process of preparing research grants, assist investigators in preparing more successful research proposals, and allow researchers more time to pursue their research obligations and/or apply for additional grants.


Essential Components of Mycroft

Grant Finder – Selecting the Right Grant and Understanding Eligibility Criteria

Team Builder – Suggesting Appropriate Team Members and Identifying Gaps in Expertise

Literature Review – Searching All of PubMed for Relevant Journal Articles using Alchemy API and Analyzing Both Structured and Unstructured Data


Mycroft accomplishes all of these tasks using IBM Watson’s Bluemix ecosystem of AI tools.

Mycroft can also assist sponsored research officials by freeing up their time in preparing basic documents, letters of support, and other administrative details, keeping track which documents have and have not been prepared, and giving them visibility into the overall state of research support at their institution, in essence helping them calculate a “ROI” for each investigator.