NIH in $58M initiative to advance data science and health research in Africa

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced plans to provide $58 million over five years for a new initiative; Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa). The program is intended to explore how advances in data science applied in the African context can spur health discoveries and catalyze innovation.

DS-I Africa will leverage existing data and build on previous large-scale NIH collaborations on the continent including the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa), the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the Health-Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) to develop solutions for the continent’s most pressing clinical and public health problems.

The US government owned health research funding agency has announced calls for applications in the areas of: an open data science platform and coordinating center; research hubs: research training programs,and ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) research. The program is targeting African academic and other non-profit organizations to apply in partnership with private sector, government and other research partners.

Later in the year, NIH will be hosting a virtual symposium platform to communicate the program’s key priorities and engage participants in scientific discussions on the state of data science in Africa. The platform is designed to encourage networking across disciplines, sectors and geographies to foster collaborations that will produce high quality applications which are expected to be due in late 2020 with projects slated to begin in the second half of 2021.

DS-I Africa is an NIH Common Fund program guided by a working group led by the Office of the Director, Fogarty, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Photo courtesy / Google

Article by Jedidah Mwangi