The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a new initiative to harness the power of commercial cloud computing and provide NIH biomedical researchers access to the most advanced, cost-effective computational infrastructure, tools and services available.
The STRIDES (Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability) Initiative launches with Google Cloud as its first industry partner and aims to reduce economic and technological barriers to accessing and computing on large biomedical data sets to accelerate biomedical advances.
“NIH is in a unique position to bring together academic and innovation industry partners to create a biomedical data ecosystem that maximises the use of NIH-supported biomedical research data for the greatest benefit to human health,” said NIH Principal Deputy Director, Lawrence A. Tabak.
“The STRIDES initiative aims to maximise the number of researchers working to provide the greatest number of solutions to advancing health and reducing the burden of disease.”
In line with NIH’s first-ever Data Science Strategic Plan, STRIDES will establish additional innovative partnerships to broaden access to services and tools, including training for researchers to learn about the latest cloud tools and technologies.
Services are expected to become available to the NIH-supported community after a series of pilot activities to refine policies and test and assess implementation approaches.
The initial agreement with Google Cloud creates a cost-efficient framework for NIH researchers, as well as researchers at more than 2,500 academic institutions across the nation receiving NIH support, to make use of Google Cloud’s storage, computing, and machine learning technologies.
In addition, the partnership will involve collaborations with NIH’s Data Commons Pilot — a group of innovative projects testing new tools and methods for working with and sharing data in the cloud — and enable the establishment of training programmes for researchers at NIH-funded institutions on how to use Google Cloud Platform.
“The volume of data generated in biomedical research labs across the world is growing exponentially,” said Gregory Moore, Vice President for Healthcare, Google Cloud.
“Through our partnership with NIH, we are bringing the power of data and the cloud to the biomedical research community globally.”
A central tenet of STRIDES is that data made available through these partnerships will incorporate standards endorsed by the biomedical research community to make data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR).
NIH’s initial efforts will also focus on making NIH high-value data sets more accessible through the cloud, leveraging partnerships to take advantage of data-related innovations such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and experimenting with new ways to optimise technology-intensive research.
Written from press release by Leah Alger