NIH Launch Big Data Initiative

Published Online: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The National Institutes of Health has begun an initiative to better use and analyze biomedical big data, the organization announced in an article published online on July 9, 2014, in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, formed in response to recommendations from the agency’s Data and Informatics Working Group, aims to improve the ability to find, access, share, and use biomedical big data, create tools and software for data analysis, improve data science training, and establish centers of excellence in data science. The project will initially focus on identifying the current needs of biomedical big data, community expectations, and current policies and practices used for producing and using the data. 

One of the first efforts of the initiative has been to develop a Data Discovery Index, which will allow sophisticated approaches to searching and integrating data. The agency has called on stakeholders to conduct short-term trials in order to identify the best practices for indexing existing datasets.

“Through a working partnership between and among the relevant stakeholders, useful solutions will emerge and lead to vibrant and sustainable models for capitalizing on biomedical big data and translating data into new knowledge,” the article reads. 

The BD2K initiative will continue these efforts through targeted requests for information, workshops, and grants.

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