Request for Information (RFI): Increasing the usability of Common Fund data resources by researchers from underrepresented groups
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

January 9, 2024

Response Date:
February 29, 2024

Related Announcements


Issued by

Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)


The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to gather input from the public in preparation for an upcoming community engagement workshop. The workshop, planned for the summer of 2024, will address ways to engage a broader population of researchers in the use of Common Fund data. We invite input to identify and better understand barriers that prevent researchers from historically underserved and underrepresented groups from using large NIH datasets (including Common Fund data sets) in biomedical research, learn about data resources outside the Common Fund that have been successful in this regard, and gather recommendations on how to meet the bioinformatics needs of a diverse group of researchers. To receive notices related to the planned community engagement workshop, please email


This request is made by the NIH Common Fund (, which supports cross-cutting programs that are expected to have exceptionally high impact. All Common Fund initiatives invite investigators to develop bold and innovative approaches to address problems that may seem intractable or to seize new opportunities that offer the potential for rapid progress in biomedical science. The NIH Common Fund has supported many transformative research programs that generated rich public data sets containing multi-dimensional molecular and phenotypic data from a wide array of organisms ( The Common Fund aims to maximize the impact of these large data sets and enable their broad use and reuse. 

The application of computational techniques to the analysis of large biological data sets, or bioinformatics, can have a lasting impact on human health by supporting decision making regarding, but not limited to, disease prevention, medical diagnosis, development of therapeutics, and treatment strategies. Through the use, reuse, and integration of thoughtfully acquired and developed data resources, like those supported by the Common Fund, scientific possibilities can multiply and lead to new discoveries previously unimaginable. To allow data sets to have their greatest impact, their analysis and interpretation must be approached with diverse perspectives, experiences, and questions. NIH is aware that informational, educational and research opportunities are not equally available to all populations, and encourages participation of researchers from underrepresented groups in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social science research enterprise (see NOT-OD-20-031, a Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, for a definition of underrepresented groups). We are seeking public input to engage a broader community of end users, particularly researchers from underrepresented groups, for wider adoption of Common Fund data sets. 

Information Requested

Responses can address any or all the items requested. There is no word limit for responses.

  1. Definitions and critical factors
    • Identify and define any critical factors or considerations related to engagement with data resources by researchers from underrepresented groups. Please include which underrepresented group these definitions are applicable to.
    • Identify any definitions that you suspect are different between your community, organization or interest group and other groups. If you are identifying cultural definition differences, please identify the underrepresented group to which these definitions may apply.
  2. Barriers to engagement
    • What are barriers to engagement with large data sets for biomedical research in general?
    • What barriers are unique to researchers from underrepresented groups?
      • See the Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-20-031, for a description of underrepresented groups in biomedical research.
    • Identify any additional barriers related specifically to the use of Common Fund data for biomedical research.
    • How can the specific barriers, problems, or issues faced by researchers from underrepresented groups be identified?
  3. Examples of success
    • Provide examples of efforts (within or outside NIH) that were successful in supporting researchers from underrepresented groups in engaging with large data sets. Examples can relate specifically to bioinformatics or to data science more generally.
    • What are the critical success factors of these efforts?
  4. Meeting researchers’ needs
    • How can the specific needs (e.g., training, support, other) of researchers from underrepresented groups be met? Responses can consider improving existing efforts or suggesting new initiatives.
    • How can the NIH Common Fund improve outreach and increase use of Common Fund data resources by researchers from underrepresented backgrounds? 

How to submit a response

All responses must be submitted electronically on the submission website: Responses must be received by 5:00 pm (ET) on February 29, 2024.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Please do not include any information you do not wish to be made public. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. 

NIH staff will carefully review all responses and will not provide comments to any individual respondent’s submission. Any identifiers (e.g., names, institutions, e-mail addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI anonymously at its discretion (e.g., on public websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in possible resultant solicitation(s), or in the development of future notices of funding opportunity). 

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

We look forward to receiving your response. Please share this request broadly with your colleagues and community.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Sahana N. Kukke, PhD
Office of Strategic Coordination, Office of the Director, NIH