NOT-RM-20-011 Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa): Research Training Program (U2R – Clinical Trial Optional)
NOT-RM-20-012 Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa): Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Research (U01 – Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
NOT-RM-20-013 Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa): Open Data Science Platform and Coordinating Center (U2C –Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)
The purpose of this Notice is to inform the research community that the NIH Common Fund, along with its partner NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices, is planning to issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to support Research Hubs for a new program entitled Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa).
This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive multidisciplinary Research Hub projects. Additionally, this notice informs the research community of a Virtual Symposium Platform that will launch the program and facilitate networking. The FOA will be open to applications directly from African organizations and is expected to be published in Summer 2020, with an expected application due date by November 2020. This FOA will utilize the U54 Specialized Center Cooperative Agreement activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.
Data drive scientific discovery. Recent technological advances, in Africa and around the world, have enabled researchers to collect enormous volumes of data. From rural clinics to the most sophisticated genomics laboratories—data are central to our ability to improve health, from delivering care to conducting biomedical research. The collection and analysis of data are fundamental activities that underpin successful biomedical research and translation to clinical and public health benefits. The ability to fully extract useful knowledge from these data will lead to accelerated discoveries and innovations that can impact health in Africa and globally.
NIH is launching the DS-I Africa program to explore how advances in data science applied in the African context can spur new health discoveries and catalyze innovation. This program will leverage existing data and technologies to develop solutions to the continent’s most pressing clinical and public health problems through a robust ecosystem of new partners from academic, government, and private sectors. The DS-I Africa Research Hubs will be a key component of the larger DS-I Africa program, which will also include companion FOAs supporting 1) data science research training, 2) research on ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) issues central to data science health research and innovation in Africa, and 3) development of an open data science platform and coordinating center. As a group, awardees will constitute a collaborative consortium and will work collectively toward strategic objectives designated by the consortium, beyond the individual research objectives of each award. Representatives from each DS-I Africa award will be expected to participate fully in the DS-I Africa Consortium and cross- consortium working groups.
The DS-I Africa Research Hubs FOA will fund approximately five U54 awards for multidisciplinary research hubs (e.g. biomedical science, computer science, engineering, social and behavioral science, and other fields) focusing on critical health research areas to be addressed through data science approaches. Hub applicants should engage African government, industry, and/or other organizations, diverse departments from Hub institutions, and organizations in the United States and/or globally that can partner to provide synergistic expertise, collaborate on research, and support data science linked to new technologies and solutions. Applicants will be required to propose a minimum of two collaborating partner organizations, one of which must be non-academic, and the number of partners within each Hub is expected to grow throughout the duration of the award to enhance existing research or to collaborate on new projects. The cooperative agreements will be direct awards to African organizations and are designed to become recognized centers of excellence in data science and innovation focused on a health priority in Africa.
There are many areas of data science that may be engaged by the Research Hubs and projects will be expected to employ a variety of approaches through the research projects proposed (minimum 2 projects will be required). Projects and Cores may utilize a wide range of data types and sources, including but not limited to clinical, public health, genomic, imaging, geospatial, mobile, and environmental data. While new data can be collected where necessary, projects should primarily focus of on use of existing data. Research Hubs should be focused on a specific health area of importance to the country or region of focus, which can be disease-specific, data-specific, or cross-cutting.
While the specific area(s) a Research Hub application proposes to address will be determined by the applicant, potential topics that could be considered include, but are not limited to:
It is expected that meritorious Research Hub applications will:
$6,500,000 in FY2021
$1,300,000 total costs per year for five years
African institutions of higher education and other non-profit organizations. Applications are not being solicited at this time.
Brad Newsome, Ph.D.
Fogarty International Center (FIC)