Request for Information (RFI): The National Database for Autism Research Challenge

Notice Number: NOT-MH-12-027

Key Dates
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Response Date:  June 12, 2012

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)


The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) serves as a secure repository for research data related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  The goal of the data repository is to accelerate scientific discovery in ASD through data sharing, data harmonization, and the reporting of research results.  The NDAR is a unique data repository that contains autism-related data from NIH funded researchers and facilitates access to three additional autism data repositories:  the Interactive Autism Network (IAN;, the Autism Tissue Program (ATP;, and the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE;  NDAR also provides access to the Pediatric MRI database (PedsMRI; ), a repository of neuroimaging data and extensive clinical/behavioral data on healthy children, adolescents, and young adults (aged 0 to 22 years) which can be useful in providing reference/normative data.  The NDAR currently has nearly 170,000 data records from over 25,000 research participants.  Access to the data in the repository is available to qualified researchers, but summary information is available to anyone.  The database contains demographic information, clinical assessments, imaging data, and data from -omics experiments.

The variety and amount of data now available in NDAR, combined with the urgent need to advance our understanding of ASD, suggests that now is the time to initiate a Challenge using the data in NDAR.  Information about Challenges sponsored by the U.S. Government can be found at  The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to seek input from the community for topics for a Challenge that would involve the data housed in NDAR and/or federated data repositories to discover novel relationships among the data that are available.

How to Submit a Response

Responses will be accepted through June 12, 2012.  Responses should be limited to one or two pages.  The subject line of the Response should mention NDAR Research Challenge.  All responses must be emailed to

This RFI is for planning purposes only and is not a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the U.S. Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it.  The U.S. Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information.

All individual responses will remain confidential.  Responses will be shared internally with NIH staff members associated with the NDAR project.

The institutes that support NDAR will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at their discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission.  The information in the responses received may be used to create a Challenge.  NIH staff may contact any responder for the sole purpose of enhancing our understanding of the RFI submission.  Responders are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or to provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted.


Inquiries regarding this Notice may be directed to:

Greg Farber, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Technology Development and Coordination
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7162, MSC 9640
Rockville, MD  20892-9640
Telephone:  301-435-0778

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