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)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
May 12, 2020
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
July 10, 2020
First Estimated Application Due Date:
November 24, 2020
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
July 15, 2021
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
August 01, 2021
Related Announcements

NOT-RM-20-010 Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa): Research Hubs (U54 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)

Issued by

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 Training awards 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 Research Training projects. Additionally, this notice informs the research community of a Virtual Symposium Platform that will launch the program and facilitate networking. This FOA will be open to applications from African and U.S. institutions and is expected to be published in Summer 2020, with an expected application due date by November 2020. This FOA will utilize the U2R International Research Training Cooperative Agreement activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

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 Training Program will be a key component of the larger DS-I Africa program, which will also include companion FOAs supporting 1) data science and innovation research hubs, 2) research on ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) issues central to data science health research and innovation in Africa, 3) and 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 Training FOA expects to fund approximately four U2R awards to support long-term data science health research and innovation training through graduate degree (master's and/or doctoral) training and faculty development activities. Grantees will train cohorts of African investigators that will have the skills to become independent investigators, research leaders, and research collaborators. The cooperative agreements can either be direct awards to African institutions or awards to U.S. institutions in partnership with African institutions. Regardless of the applicant organization, the training programs must focus on building institutional capacity at one or more African institutions and train African researchers. Partnerships with additional organizations, including for-profit or governmental organizations, are encouraged as a means to provide applied research experiences for the trainees.

Research Training Programs may develop various data science and health tracks or themes and should establish programs that provide core foundational data science and health knowledge and skills along with experiential learning through applied research projects. Additionally, the DS-I Africa Open Science Platform and Coordinating Center will provide opportunities to connect trainees with research experiences developed in the DS-I Africa Research Hubs (see Related Announcements). Proposed institutional research training programs may complement other ongoing research training and career development programs at the African institution(s), but the proposed program must be clearly distinct from related programs currently receiving U.S. government support.

It is expected that meritorious Research Training Program applications will:

  • Identify trainees from a variety of backgrounds such as the biomedical and behavioral sciences, computer science, engineering, informatics, mathematics, physics, and statistics. All trainees are expected to acquire a core set of knowledge in data science, but their primary application areas may differ.
  • Provide trainees with the experience of working as part of a team of individuals with expertise and skill sets in disparate domains in order to solve important health problems.
  • Strengthen faculty at the African institution(s) to teach and mentor in data science and health from a diversity of disciplines.
  • Develop or enhance and implement curricula that are based on core competencies in data science and cover three scientific areas: computer science/informatics, statistics/mathematics, and biomedical science/public health.
  • Work across the consortia with other training programs to harmonize curricula.
  • Develop appropriate short courses to support the development of the long-term trainees.
  • Practice open data science and data sharing in keeping with FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) Data Principles, in collaboration with the DS-I Africa Open Science Platform and Coordinating Center.
Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding

$1,400,000 in FY2021

Expected Number of Awards
Estimated Award Ceiling

$350,000 total costs per year for five years

Primary CFDA Numbers
Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entity (Foreign Organization)
Applications are not being solicited at this time.
Please direct all inquiries to:

Laura Povlich, Ph.D.

Fogarty International Center (FIC)


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices