NIH to bankroll initiatives to build Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots into R&D programs

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering funding to research initiatives that make use of the Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots. The NIH is hoping the next wave of projects will help the National Cancer Institute (NCI) decide how to establish computational infrastructure to support genomics research.

The NCI began developing its strategy last year when it enlisted the Broad Institute, the Institute for Systems Biology and Seven Bridges Genomics to create systems for the access and analysis of cancer genome data. Each organization is working with a commercial cloud provider to store and share The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), but applying its own system design, analysis resources and other tools to the task. The $40,000-per-project grants NIH is now advertising will go some way to establishing how well the systems created by the organizations are performing.

The program is open to a wide range of projects, but NIH already has a few initiatives in mind. In its grant description, the NIH picks out a project to install analysis tools into the Cloud Pilots as a suitable candidate for funding. Such an initiative would allow the NCI to gauge how capable each organization's platform is of handling large genomic datasets and performing novel research. Similarly, the NIH is also open to funding programs that upload locally generated genomic data to the Cloud Pilots or use the platforms to process TCGA results.

Each of the mooted projects tests an aspect of the Cloud Pilots, from their effectiveness at running novel research to their ability to handle private data alongside information from TGCA. NIH is accepting applications until October 18, after which it will decide quickly on which submissions will receive funding. The aim is to start the projects early next year and wrap them up by the end of September 2016. 

- here's the grant pitch
- and GenomeWeb's take (reg. req.)