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Funding to make data ready for AI and machine learning

Jennie Larkin
Jennie LARKIN,
Deputy Director,
Division of Neuroscience (DN)
Picture of Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya
Program Director,
Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR)

*The authors thank their colleagues in the NIA Artificial Intelligence and Data Sharing Working Groups for their support on this post.

Biomedical data science is fast evolving, thanks in large part to the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies as powerful additions to the scientific community’s toolbox. The challenge is harnessing the massive data flow — including what’s produced by NIA-supported research — and making it easier for investigators to tap into. Several teams at NIA and across the broader NIH are working on solutions, and we’re pleased to announce supplemental funding is now available in four key areas to help researchers modernize their data.

FAIR data that you can TRUST

NIH data policy aims to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). NIH also aims to ensure that our data repositories align with the Transparency, Responsibility, User focus, Sustainability, and Technology (TRUST) principles. The goal is to have high-impact data usable with AI or ML applications to improve our understanding of healthy aging and identify factors and interventions associated with disease resistance and successful treatments.

Supplementing four key data areas

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, NIA partnered with the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) to supplement active NIA research projects in four key focus areas. The NIA community responded robustly to this opportunity, resulting in 23 supplement awards across these four notices of special interest (NOSIs). ODSS funded 19 supplements and NIA supported four, investing a combined total of nearly $6 million.

In the true spirit of open science, this funding will aid the development of teaching materials, workshops, and freely accessible online content so that other investigators can train their students. For example, these awards support scientists who are creating classes and curricula aimed at making data AI/ML-ready and aligned with FAIR and TRUST principles.

Moving forward

In FY 2022, NIA is again partnering with ODSS and has joined four Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs). Three are reissues of last year’s notices:

The fourth supplement opportunity is new this year:

If you’re as excited about the nexus of IT and healthy aging research as we are, we hope you’ll apply for these NOSIs to potentially accelerate your projects! If you have questions, please email the contacts listed above or leave a comment below.

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