Sunday, February 1, 2009

NIH Awards New Pilot Projects

NIH awarded three contracts for pilot projects to improve informatics support for researchers doing small to medium-sized clinical studies. The projects will be administered by NIH’s National Center for Research Resources with each of the two year contracts totaling $4 million. The funding will help advance collaborations in clinical and translational research by using interdisciplinary teams of investigators.

The project at Case Western Reserve University includes investigators from the Marshfield Clinic, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Michigan. The team will develop Physio-MIMNI, an informatics infrastructure for collecting, managing, and analyzing diverse data types across institutions. This research will enable researchers to collaborate in national studies that have complex data sources such as heart and brain monitoring data, along with genomic information. This research will help design informatics tools to improve the efficiency of clinical research.

The University of Washington pilot project will enable researchers at three large, geographically distributed medical centers to easily access large shared data sets to assist in designing research studies and generating hypotheses. The team of investigators from UC Davis, and UC San Francisco will extend Harvard University’s i2b2 software architecture to support cross institution searches. The project will provide model policies and procedures to advance multi-institutional sharing of clinical data to support research.

The third pilot project at Vanderbilt University includes investigators from Oregon Health and Sciences University and Mayo Clinic coming together to collaborate on a project that will extend the capabilities of the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) system. The system is a software toolset that will provide research teams with easy workflow to rapidly develop secure, web-based applications to collect, manage, and share clinical study data. REDCap currently supports 300 studies across an international consortium of 31 institutions.

Software resulting from the three pilot projects will be freely available to biomedical researchers, educators, and institutions in the nonprofit sector. The availability of the software will permit the broad adoption of the tools and allow for the commercialization of customized versions.

Full project descriptions with a list of project partner institutions, is available at