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New NIH Strategic Plan Has Data Science as a Crosscutting Theme in Support of Research

In the recently released NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025, NIH identifies data science as one of five crosscutting themes for how NIH will advance its mission while fulfilling requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. The plan’s strategic framework includes three main objectives that outline NIH’s priorities in biomedical and behavioral research areas, research capacity, and research conduct. Data science in the plan covers building data resources and infrastructure, inventing tools and technologies that catalyze discovery and inform decision making, and more.  

Leveraging data science is pivotal for biomedical discovery. The immense amount of data generated across the research enterprise has yielded advances in biomedical technologies and computational processing, including advanced artificial intelligence technologies.

However, with these advancements come opportunities and challenges (i.e., data storing, managing, analyzing, and sharing) that require innovative approaches and business practices. The NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science is one such solution for road mapping a modern and integrated NIH-funded biomedical data ecosystem, which consists of data infrastructure, resources, tools, and workforce. The plan outlines NIH’s commitment to rapid, open data sharing and greater harmonization of data science efforts with respect to participant privacy and sensitive data security. Ultimately, by maximizing the value of data generated, the scientific community can work to accelerate discoveries that lead to better health outcomes.

Read the full NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025 and the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science to learn more about NIH’s ongoing commitment to turning discovery (via data science) into health.