The National Institutes of Health is investing about $74.5 million over five years to advance data science, catalyze innovation, and spur health discoveries across Africa. Under its new Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program, the NIH announced 19 awards to research partners in the U.S. and globally, including one to support a project led by scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
The $1.7 million award will create new training programs in health data science in Eastern Africa, with an initial focus on starting new MS programs in public health data science, first at the University of Nairobi in Kenya and then at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia—with immersion in real data programs by partnering with several ongoing research projects in the region.
The initiative will be carried out in collaboration with the Data Science Institute and Department of Statistics at Columbia University, Schools of Public Health and Information Science at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and the Schools of Public Health and School of Mathematics at University of Nairobi in Kenya. The Columbia Global Center in Nairobi will serve as a regional hub for key grant-related activities.
Program goals include the development of sustainable MS programs, faculty mentoring programs, and a short-term training program for a wide spectrum of trainees, including from partnering governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and the private sector.
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The National Institutes of Health is investing about $74.5 million over five years to advance data science, catalyze innovation and spur health discoveries across Africa. Under its new Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program, the NIH is issuing 19 awards to support research and training activities. DS-I Africa is an NIH Common Fund program that is supported by the Office of the Director and 11 NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices.
Awards will establish a consortium consisting of a data science platform and coordinating center, seven research hubs, seven data science research training programs and four projects focused on studying the ethical, legal and social implications of data science research. Awardees have a robust network of partnerships across the African continent and in the United States, including numerous national health ministries, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and other academic institutions.
“This initiative has generated tremendous enthusiasm in all sectors of Africa’s biomedical research community,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Big data and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the conduct of research across the continent, while investing in research training will help to support Africa’s future data science leaders and ensure sustainable progress in this promising field.”
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