EGRP News Flash - March 1, 2013

NIH Issues Two Requests for Information: Training Needs On Use of Biomedical Big Data and Use of Epigenomics Data Resource

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking input from the scientific community through two Requests for Information (RFIs):

  1. Training Needs in Response to Big Data to Knowledge Initiative - The NIH is launching Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K)External Web Site Policy, an initiative to address how best to manage and utilize the large amounts of biomedical data that new technologies can generate. NIH has established a working group to develop plans to implement new programs to increase training in this area, and this working group intends to convene a workshop to discuss training and education needs in how to manage and utilize large complex data sets.

    Prior to the workshop, NIH wishes to collect information and relevant materials that will help inform the discussions of the workshop participants. To aid in planning this workshop, responses are being sought from the extramural community on the following:

    • Doctoral and postdoctoral training programs that will be needed to expand the capabilities of the targeted groups to use Big Data, with special attention to the training and mentoring environments.
    • Short-term training, including course content that will be needed to cross-train the targeted groups and undergraduates.
    • New curriculum and other training materials that will be needed to cross-train the targeted groups and undergraduates.

    Responses will be accepted through Friday, March 15, 2013. Please limit responses to two pages. Responses must be sent to

    For questions about this RFI, contact Michelle Dunn, Ph.D., Mathematical Statistician, Data Modeling Branch, Surveillance Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI.

    Access the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts for more details:

  2. Research Needs to Facilitate Broad Community Use of the Roadmap Epigenomics Program Data Resource - The Roadmap Epigenomics Program was established to further understanding of the critical role epigenetic mechanisms play in normal human development, and in disease. A key component of this program are the Reference Epigenome Mapping Centers, a consortium focused on creating a public database of reference epigenomic maps for a variety of normal, primary human cells and tissues, including pluripotent lineages.

    More than 2,300 datasets are available for downloadExternal Web Site Policy, spanning more than 150 unique cell and tissue types. The purpose of this Request for Information is to solicit feedback from the community in an effort to identify the highest priority areas to pursue to facilitate broad use of the resource. In order to maximize the impact of this valuable community resource, and facilitate its use by scientists with a broad range of expertise, we seek input on several topics and issues. We request feedback from the scientific community to assist in identifying and prioritizing research needs and gaps, especially in the following areas:

    • What challenges have you faced when using reference epigenome data generated by the Roadmap Epigenomics Program?
    • What additional tools or information are needed to make these and other similar datasets useful to the broader research community (e.g. tools for data mining)?
    • What biological questions can now be addressed using reference epigenome datasets produced by the consortium?
    • What methods or tools would facilitate analysis of user-generated datasets relative to reference epigenomic data?
    • What roadblocks prevent integration of reference epigenome data with other kinds of data, such as other public or user-generated epigenomic datasets (e.g. ENCODE), genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and genotype data, transcriptomic, metabolomic, or other -omic data sets?
    • Are new analytical methods or tools needed to facilitate such integrative analyses?
    • What methods are needed to integrate different epigenomic data types? What methods are needed to enable integrated analyses of related data types, i.e. those generated by different platforms (such as Illumina 450K arrays), with different levels of coverage, or from multiple individuals or time points?

    Responses will be accepted through March 29, 2013. Responses must be sent to

    For cancer epidemiology questions related to epigenomics, contact Mukesh Verma, Ph.D., Chief, Methods and Technologies Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI.

    Access the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts for more details:

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