NIH Requests Comments on its Data Science Strategic Plan

March 7, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

nih-logo-blueFor the second time in a week, we’re using this blog space to make you aware that your opinion matters. This week, we wanted to inform you about a recent request for input issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the draft NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science. In a blog post earlier this week, NIH’s Dr. Michael Lauer discussed the plan, which describes NIH’s overarching goals, strategic objectives and implementation tactics for promoting the modernization of the NIH-funding biomedical data science ecosystem.

NIH seeks input from stakeholders, including members of the scientific community, academic institutions, the private sector, health professionals, professional societies, advocacy groups, patient communities, as well as other interested members of the public. Responses should be submitted via an online form by April 2, 2018.

The strategic plan has certain objectives that are related to grant funding. One objective is to “support useful, generalizable and accessible tools and workflows.” The plan notes that data resources have generally been funded through NIH research grants, and applicants have emphasized the development of new tools in order to meet innovation expectations associated with conducting research. This strategy can shift the focus of data resources away from their core function of providing reliable and efficient access to high-quality data. In addition, coupling review and funding of data resources to tool development can inhibit the type of open competition among developers that allows support of the most innovative and useful tools. To address these concerns, NIH said it will evaluate and fund tool development separately from support of databases and knowledge bases. NIH will also promote the establishment of environments in which high-quality, open-source data management, analytics and visualization tools can be obtained and used directly with data in the NIH Data Commons and/or other cloud environments.

Another objective is to “enhance the NIH data-science workforce.” The strategic plan states that “given the importance of data science for biomedical research, NIH needs an internal workforce that is increasingly skilled in this area, [which] includes ensuring that NIH program and review staff who administer and manage grants and coordinate the evaluation of applications have sufficient experience with and knowledge of data science.” To address this need, NIH plans to develop training programs for its staff to improve their knowledge and skills in areas related to data science. It also will recruit a cohort of data scientists and others with expertise in areas such as project management, systems engineering and computer science from the private sector and academia for short-term (1- to 3-year) national service sabbaticals.

For those stakeholders affected by NIH funding, make sure to take a look at the NIH strategic plan to ensure its priorities are correct.

Let us know your reaction to the data strategic plan. We’d love to hear from you.

LinkedInShare

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*