September 2013

NIH commits $24 million annually for big data centers of excellence

NIH BD2K logoEvery day, numerous researchers produce an abundance of datasets. However, the scientific community lacks tools, accessibility and training in how to use these large, diverse datasets.
 
In response to these problems, the National Institutes of Health is launching the Big Data to Knowledge initiative, or BD2K, in December. The NIH will provide up to $24 million per year for four years to establish and support six to eight investigator-initiated BD2K Centers of Excellence.
 
The centers will focus on developing policies and practices for collaborative sharing of data and software; finding new ways of organizing, managing, processing and analyzing large data sets; and training students and investigators to use data science methods, such as informatics, biostatistics and computational biology.
 
The NIH’s goal “is to help researchers translate data into knowledge that will advance discoveries and improve health, while reducing costs and redundancy,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins said in a statement in late July.
 
The deadline for applications from those interested in establishing BD2K Centers of Excellence is Nov. 20. Applicants must identify a research topic and propose research in data science. Particularly, applicants must highlight approaches, methods, software and tools for data integration, analysis, database development and management, and visualization and modeling to address important research questions.
 
A webinar for prospective applicants will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 12. More details about this event and the BD2K initiative can be found at bd2k.nih.gov.

Lesley WassefLesley Wassef (lesleywassef@yahoo.com) is a research associate in the Food Science and Rutgers Center for Lipid Research at Rutgers University.

 

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