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-20-011 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)
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 an Open Data Science Platform and Coordinating Center 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 partnerships and develop a responsive application to both host a data platform as well as serve as a coordination center. 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 U2C Resource-Related Research Multi-Component Projects and Centers 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 Open Data Science Platform and Coordinating Center will be a key component of the larger DS-I Africa program which will include companion FOAs supporting 1) data science and innovation research hubs, 2) data science research training, and 3) research on ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) issues central to data science health research and innovation in Africa. 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 Open Data Science Platform and Coordinating Center FOA will consist of two components – the DS-I Africa Open Data Science Platform (ODSP) and Coordinating Center (CC) – funded via one U2C award.
The ODSP will be a scalable data-sharing gateway available to the research community with access to disparate types of open and controlled-access data, generated from the DS-I Africa Research Hubs (see Related Announcements) as well as other existing sources. The ODSP will enable discovery and harness the collective data into actionable insights that individual researchers and health care professionals would not easily be able to develop with only the data generated from their own studies – democratizing access to and use of data through the use of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles. The ODSP will also provide a core set of tools that enable cross-network projects and have the ability to deploy computational pipelines, workflows, and analyses developed by the Research Hub investigators and other users to analyze their own data in conjunction with other data accessible via the ODSP. The awardee will serve as a technical resource for the DS-I Africa Consortium to support relevant use cases including system capabilities to comply with international data protection and anonymization requirements. The awardee is also expected to foster collaborations with industry to leverage existing technologies and solutions that are cost-effective and sustainable.
The CC will be responsible for managing cross-consortium administrative functions, including engagement and communications across the consortium and among participants in all DS-I Africa elements (Working Groups, Steering Committee, DS-I Africa staff and external advisory groups/stakeholders and the public). The CC will also disseminate information about the consortium and facilitate working groups and semi-annual consortium meetings. In addition, the CC will work in close partnership with the ODSP to coordinate data science or related short-course (online and in-person) training activities and establish a web presence for the consortium.
The cooperative agreement will be a direct award to an African organization. Given the two distinct functions required, it is expected that meritorious applications will contain partnerships with the roles of the participating teams clearly defined in multi-Institution/PI plans. Partnership with US and other high-income country institutions will be allowed, and applicants are strongly encouraged to leverage existing platform infrastructures and technologies to address the needs of this initiative.
$2,250,000 in FY2021
$2,250,000 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.
Tiffani Lash, Ph.D.
National Institute Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)