NIH Awards $32M To Improve the Use of Big Data in Health Care

October 10, 2014 in News

On Thursday, NIH announced that it has awarded $32 million in grants to support its Big Data to Knowledge initiative, which aims to improve the use of big data in biomedical research, the Los Angeles Times‘ “Science Now” reports (Healy, “Science Now,” Los Angeles Times, 10/9).

Overall, the agency expects to invest nearly $656 million on the initiative through 2020 (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 10/10).


According to NIH, the use of biomedical data often is limited because of a lack of:

  • Accessibility;
  • Tools; and
  • Training.

The BD2K initiative aims to maximize the value of increasingly complex and large biomedical data sets by focusing on:

  • Creating data-discovery capabilities for biomedical data;
  • Designing studies and conducting data analyses to address big data issues;
  • Training big data practitioners (iHealthBeat, 7/17); and
  • Working across multiple data sets (Reichards, CQ HealthBeat, 10/9).

Grant Details

The first round of grants will help fund:

  • 11 nationwide Centers of Excellence for Big Data Computing that will each focus on specific data science challenges, including analyzing genomic data and managing electronic health record data;
  • A consortium to help develop a community-based biomedical data discovery index;
  • A data coordination center to support interpretation and integration of data from the NIH Common Fund’s Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures program (NIH release, 10/9); and
  • Training and workforce development in data science fields (Health Data Management, 10/10).
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