In December I wrote about the exciting announcements presented at the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting to address their recommendations on how to best support the future of biomedical research. I’ve blogged on some recent announcements related to the biomedical workforce here and here (and as described in December, there are more to come!). Additionally, details about some of the other initiatives resulting from the ACD working group on diversity were published in the NIH Guide in the beginning of February (see these announcements on the BUILD initiative and the NIH National Research Mentoring Network for more information). I also want to call your attention to a recently released request for information (RFI) related both to training and “Big Data” — the large, complex data sets that have come out of rapid advances in biomedical research, and that will continue to grow both in number, and in value in the future.
The Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative seeks to support the effective use and management of Big Data, in response to recommendations from the ACD’s Working Group on Data and Informatics.
Big Data creates challenges ranging from acquisition and processing of newly generated data, to the analysis and visualization of large data sets. In order to meet these challenges, one part of the BD2K initiative focuses solely on training and developing the new knowledge and skills beyond those traditionally employed in biomedical research. Such abilities will be needed at all levels, from students through established faculty, for the continued advancement of biomedical research. NIH would like input from all sectors of the biomedical research community — including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, scientists, clinicians, scientific societies, NIH grantee institutions, industry, and more — on how to best allocate resources for this crucial training need.
NIH asks for your input on both the short and long-term training needs of individuals who work with biomedical data, seeks examples of programs or strategies to cross-train scientists at all career levels, and also requests comments on evaluating workforce skills and knowledge and developing a diverse research workforce. This input will be used by the NIH BD2K working group as it develops new initiatives to address the opportunities presented by Big Data.
So I encourage you to submit comments by March 15, 2013 (as described in the RFI) and to tell your colleagues about this opportunity to provide input. And as always, I welcome your comments on the blog, but please follow these guidelines to incorporate your feedback into the RFI responses.