NIH Seeks First Chief Data Strategist

May 28, 2019
Will serve as the director of the newly formed Office of Data Science Strategy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world's largest medical research facility, is creating a chief data strategist (CDS) position to serve as the principal adviser to the NIH Director and other NIH leadership about technology ecosystems that facilitate data science.

The chief data strategist will also serve as the director of the newly formed Office of Data Science Strategy in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Director (DPCPSI), NIH.

“We are looking for a chief data strategist who can come in and build a 21st century workforce and a 21st century platform for allowing researchers to ask questions that they never imagined before,” said Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us Research Program, in a video blog about the new position.

In complementing existing NIH expertise and investments in computational biology, bioinformatics, biostatistics, information science, medical informatics, and quantitative biology, the CDS will:

• provide leadership for a broad range of initiatives and projects that align with NIH’s strategic plans;
• catalyze the use of new platforms and methods to gain deeper insights from NIH’s vast data resources; and
 • help mature competencies and capabilities of the biomedical research workforce—amongst NIH as well as its greater research ecosystem—to capitalize on new large-scale biomedical data and analytic tools.

In concert with, and as a member of, the trans-NIH Scientific Data Council (SDC), the CDS will play a seminal role orchestrating the development and implementation of new approaches and platforms for initiatives that support the vision expressed in the NIH’s Strategic Plan for Data Science. The person taking the new position must also develop the strategic planning processes that keep NIH and its awardees at the forefront of biomedical data science and new data types that will scale up in the near future (omics, imaging, biosensing, consumer devices, etc.).

Platform Leadership

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. 

This will entail engaging 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.

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.