NCI Request for Information (RFI): Input on Development of the NCI Imaging Data Commons

Notice Number: NOT-CA-18-060

Key Dates
Release Date: April 3, 2018

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Cancer Institute (NCI)


This Request for Information (RFI) seeks public input and ideas on the proposed development of an Imaging Data Commons (IDC), a cloud-based image repository, analytical workspace and key component of the NCI’s Cancer Research Data Commons (CRDC).


Biomedical research is increasingly becoming a data-intensive enterprise, but siloing of both data and analytics prevents full utilization of available resources. The NCI has initiated development of the Cancer Research Data Commons (CRDC), a cloud-based data science infrastructure to provide access to cancer research data collections and to scalable computing resources and tools. Building upon the experience gained in developing the Genomic Data Commons and the Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots, the NCI is proposing an Imaging Data Commons (IDC) as a critical component of the CRDC. The IDC will be a repository and collaborative workspace for storing, viewing, analyzing, and sharing cancer-related images and associated metadata from disciplines such as radiology, pathology, and cellular/molecular imaging. It will also provide APIs to enable the deployment of new and existing analytic tools for image analysis.

It is crucial that the IDC support the needs of the cancer research community and provide services which are of maximum value. We wish to engage potential users of the Imaging Data Commons, spanning the spectrum from bench scientists and software tool developers to clinical researchers, to hear your requirements, concerns, and ideas for what data and functionality the IDC should encompass. This input will help drive the initial design and future development of the IDC. Your thoughts are crucial to the success of the IDC.

Information Requested

To ensure that the Imaging Data Commons meets the needs of the cancer imaging community, the NCI is seeking input on current needs and challenges faced when sharing, accessing, and utilizing imaging data. This includes how different imaging data types are generated, stored, structured, accessed, and analyzed.

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Types of imaging data used for research.
  • Instruments, protocols, and pipelines used to create image data.
  • Repositories used for storage, sharing, and retrieval of image data.
  • Existing repository access issues.  
  • Mandated repositories for deposition of generated image data.
  • Need for simultaneous access to publicly available data in conjunction with private data.
  • Issues encountered in data submission to repositories.
  • Formats required for image data or for metadata.
  • Strengths and weaknesses of pipelines used for data and metadata submission, quality control, and de-identification.


  • Tools and workflows used for image analysis.
  • Importance of tool categories for research:
  • User-supplied tools and pipelines for analysis.
  • Validating, assessing, and using tools provided through the platform.
  • Collaborative tools for visualization and analysis.
  • Saving and sharing analytical results.
  • Additional features important for image analysis work.

Computing resources

  • Familiarity with cloud-based computing resources.
  • Familiarity with scalable or high-performance computing resources for image analysis.
  • Issues encountered in analyses due to computational resource limitations (time, cost, etc.).  

Submitting a Response

All responses must be submitted to by May 4, 2018.

Please include the Notice number/RFI number here in the subject line. Responders are free to address any or all of the categories listed above. Please be as specific as possible. Please also include your area of expertise and interest in cancer imaging. The submitted information will be reviewed by NIH staff.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response. NIH will use information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. The collected information will be reviewed by NIH staff, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website.

The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in summaries of the state of the science, and any resultant solicitation(s). The NIH may use information gathered by this RFI to inform development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers. NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Stephen Jett, Ph.D.
Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-5537