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Professor Susanna-Assunta Sansone from the Oxford e-Research Centre in the Department of Engineering Science is co-Principal investigator in three of the twelve projects awarded prestigious USA National Institutes of Health (NIH) Data Commons funding.

It2019s not big data that discriminates 2013 it2019s the people that use it

Over the next 4 years the awardees will work together, as the NIH Data Commons Pilot Phase Consortium (DCPPC), to accelerate new biomedical discoveries by making the digital products of biomedical research - such as data and tools - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable for more researchers, according to the widely accepted FAIR principles.

"As an author of the FAIR principles, I am a strong promoter of a Data Science culture that considers the research, development and educational activities in and around digital research assets as science, rather than just a service" says Professor Sansone, Associate Professor and Associate Director at the Oxford e-Research Centre, part of the University of Oxford's Department of Engineering Science. "The NIH Data Commons will contribute to turn the concept of FAIR data into reality, and I am delighted to be at the forefront of these activities".

The awardees of the NIH DCPPC will pilot principles, metrics, policies, processes, and architectures needed to create the Data Commons, a shared virtual space where scientists can collaboratively access and share data and analytical tools. The work will be carried out using three high-value NIH biomedical datasets chosen based on their value to users in the biomedical research community, the diversity of the data they contain, and their coverage of both basic and clinical research: (i) Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program; (ii) Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project; and (iii) Model organism databases (MODs).

"Harvesting the wealth of information in biomedical data will advance our understanding of human health and disease," says NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "However, poor data accessibility is a major barrier to translating data into understanding. The NIH Data Commons Pilot Phase is an important effort to remove that barrier."

Professor Sansone is already a co-Principal investigator in two NIH Big Data to Knowledge centres, funded during the first phase of this data science programme. "My team and I are thrilled to continue as part of this second phase of the programme, where we will also bring elements of our ISA and FAIRsharing resources, part of the ELIXIR-UK Node, and linked to the Research Data Alliance and Force11 communities. It is particularly significant to be the only co-Principal investigator involved in three projects, each led by renowned data scientists and colleagues, and the only UK university represented in the consortium", she says.

Story courtesy of the OeRC