National Institutes of Health to Establish Big Data Centers and Fund up to $24 Million Annually

Francis S. Collins, Director, NIH

Francis S. Collins, Director, NIH

Last month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its commitment to funding up to $24 million per year for four years to establish six to eight investigator-initiated Big Data to Knowledge Centers of Excellence.

According to NIH, the Knowledge Centers will improve the ability of the research community to use increasingly large and complex datasets through the development and distribution of innovative approaches, methods, software, and tools for data sharing, integration, analysis and management. The centers will also provide training for students and researchers to use and develop data science methods.

“This funding opportunity represents a concerted effort to leverage the power of NIH in developing cutting-edge systems to address data science challenges,” said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, director of NIH. “The goal is to help researchers translate data into knowledge that will advance discoveries and improve health, while reducing costs and redundancy.”

NIH launched Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) in December as a response to a lack of tools, accessibility, and training in managing, integrating and analyzing biomedical research. This initiative supports research, implementation, and training in data science that will enable biomedical scientists to capitalize on the transformative opportunities that large datasets provide. The investigator-initiated BD2K Center of Excellence funding opportunity is the first of several BD2K funding opportunities to be announced in coming months.

“BD2K aims to enable a quantum leap in the ability of the biomedical research enterprise to maximize the value of the growing volume and complexity of biomedical data,” says Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., NIH acting associate director for data science and director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. “The Centers of Excellence will provide a key component of the overall initiative.”

Applicants responding to the BD2K Center of Excellence funding opportunity announcement should identify a research topic and propose research in data science. The centers are expected to interact as a consortium that cooperatively builds on individual research efforts.

An information webinar for prospective applicants will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT. Applications will be due on Nov. 20, 2013. For more information about this event and the overall BD2K initiative, click here.


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