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NIH Creates Chief Data Strategist Position

May 14, 2018
by David Raths
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Executive to advise on large-scale platforms and technology ecosystems that facilitate data science

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a new position, chief data strategist, to serve as the principal adviser to NIH leadership on large-scale platforms and technology ecosystems that facilitate data science.

The NIH's national program of health research and research training is currently funded at more than $29 billion annually and it has more than 18,000 employees. Reporting directly to the NIH director, the chief data strategist will lead the cross-NIH effort to deliver a next-generation technology platform that can accelerate scientific discovery and weave existing data science efforts into a highly innovative data ecosystem to maximize the utilization and extraction of knowledge from the data generated by, and relevant to, NIH research. 

The person in the CDS position will engage with data-intensive research programs such as the All of Us Program, BRAIN Initiative, Cancer Moonshot, and Opioid Initiative as well as the NIH intramural research program to promote the coordination and harmonization of data, methods, and technologies being sensitive to the unique programs and goals of the individual NIH Institutes and Centers.

The CDS also will serve as the NIH’s advocate and representative in national and global data strategy matters, including other federal agencies, the Congress, industry, academic and scientific societies, the biomedical research community, international partners, the media, and the public. This will include extensive interactions with external advisors and stakeholders in the research community and experts in the private sector.

In collaboration with the Principal Deputy Director of NIH, the CDS will be responsible for guiding a new NIH Data and Technology Advancement (DATA) Fellowship to attract leading data scientists who are early in their career to tackle large-scale, data-intensive projects designed to overcome a current obstacle or create a new capability that will yield transformational changes to biomedical research.

The NIH said applications would be reviewed starting July 9.



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