The National Institutes of Health has launched an initiative to give NIH biomedical researchers access to the most advanced commercial cloud computing resources.
The STRIDES (Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability) Initiative launches with Google Cloud as its first industry partner and aims to reduce economic and technological barriers to accessing and computing on large biomedical data sets to accelerate biomedical advances.
The NHI said the initial agreement with Google Cloud creates a cost-efficient framework for its researchers, as well as researchers at more than 2,500 academic institutions across the nation receiving NIH support, to make use of Google Cloud’s storage, computing, and machine learning technologies.
In addition, the partnership will involve collaborations with NIH’s Data Commons pilot — a group of projects testing new tools and methods for working with and sharing data in the cloud — and enable the establishment of training programs for researchers at NIH-funded institutions on how to use Google Cloud Platform.
In line with NIH’s first-ever Data Science Strategic Plan, released in June, STRIDES will establish additional partnerships to broaden access to services and tools, including training for researchers to learn about the latest cloud tools and technologies. Services are expected to become available to the NIH-supported community after a series of pilot activities to refine policies and test and assess implementation approaches.
A central tenet of STRIDES is that data made available through these partnerships will incorporate standards endorsed by the biomedical research community to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). NIH’s initial efforts will focus on making NIH high-value data sets more accessible through the cloud, leveraging partnerships to take advantage of data-related innovations such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and experimenting with new ways to optimize technology-intensive research.
“By launching STRIDES, we clearly show our strong commitment to putting the most advanced cloud computing tools in the hands of scientists,” said Andrea T. Norris, NIH Chief Information Officer and director of NIH’s Center for Information Technology, in a prepared statement. “Beyond our partnership with Google Cloud, we will seek to add more industry partners to assure that NIH continues to be well poised to support the future of biomedical research.”