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As biomedical tools and technologies rapidly improve, researchers are producing and analyzing an ever-expanding amount of complex biological data. New analytics tools are needed to extract critical knowledge from this vast amount of data, and new policies must be developed to encourage data and software sharing to maximize the value of the data for all researchers across the spectrum of biomedical research. In addition, data and metadata standards to ensure data quality and uniformity must be developed, with broad input from the scientific community to ensure that these standards will have maximum utility and value. 

In response to the needs articulated by the Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on Data and Informatics, the NIH is undertaking several initiatives to address the challenges and opportunities associated with big data. It established the NIH Office of the Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS), which broadly oversees data science initiatives at NIH.  In cooperation with all NIH Institutes and Centers, the NIH Common Fund is providing support to the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, which is working to facilitate broad use of biomedical big data, develop and disseminate analysis methods and software, enhance training for disciplines relevant for large-scale data analysis, and establish centers of excellence for biomedical big data. The BD2K initiative features eight Program Management Working Groups that oversee the different aspects of BD2K including:

The efforts of the ADDS Office and BD2K focus on making the biomedical data produced through NIH-supported research "FAIR" or Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. Read a commentary in Nature: Scientific Data authored by the NIH Associate Director for Data Science and other members of the Data Science community on the FAIR guiding principles.

The NIH Common Fund is a proud supporter of the trans-NIH BD2K initiative, and information about BD2K — especially on the sub-initiatives receiving Common Fund support — is available through the Common Fund BD2K webpages. In-depth information about the initiative as a whole is available through the BD2K webpages maintained by the NIH ADDS Office.


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