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Deadline for Pilot Project Proposals
Announcement Release Data: January 10, 2022
Application Receipt Date: April 15, 2022 by 5 p.m.
Notification of Outcome: All applicants will receive notification by June 30, 2022
Earliest Project Start Date: August 16, 2022
Purpose: The purpose of this RFP is to invite pilot project applications on the utilization of Big Data analytics in
health-related research. The primary goals of this pilot project program will be to promote
interdisciplinary collaboration in Big Data health science research and support meritorious applications
that can leverage existing data to address critical issues related to health behavior, clinical care, healthcare
delivery, and population health. Interdisciplinary research that involves linking and integrating data sets
from multiple sources are particularly encouraged. Existing data may include, but are not limited to
electronic health records data, social media data, geospatial data, genomic data, or bio-nanomaterial
Background: Radical transformation is required in the US healthcare system to promote more effective and affordable approaches to personalized medicine and population health. Healthcare costs have outgrown the overall economy for several decades, yet health remains suboptimal, and the number of people with multiple chronic conditions continues to escalate. Life expectancy in the US has declined for three years in a row compared to other developed countries. The NIH-Wide Strategic Plan (2016-2020) asserts that our nation
and the world stand at a unique moment of opportunity in biomedical research, and data science is an integral contributor. The generation of massive, rich data sets in healthcare (e.g., electronic health records, genomic data) and the emergence of advanced information, communication, and computational technologies — collectively referred to as “Big Data analytics” — offer an invaluable opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare.
NIH issued its first Strategic Plan for Data Science in May 2018 and suggested that the Big Data approach will advance uniquely our understanding of disease prevention, identification, control, treatment, and delivery in the coming decades and will be key to reducing national and global health disparities. However, several critical gaps exist in utilizing such an approach, including the growing costs of managing data, “siloed” data resources with limited integration and interconnectivity, and an underutilization of Big Data approaches for clinical decision-making and research. A key reason for these gaps is a lack of data-science talent and limited leadership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of Big Data health analytics. The shortage of data scientists is projected to increase from 100,000 in 2012 to 240,000 by 2020. In response to this talent gap, academic institutions across the US, including several Ivy league universities and our aspirant peer institutions, have created data-science programs housed either in a Business or Engineering School, but few, if any, are currently focused on healthcare analytics.
With the support of UofSC excellence Initiative, the UofSC Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC) aims
to transform UofSC into a global leader in the focused field of Big Data health science analytics. To
accomplish this mission, BDHSC has developed program activities around the following five strategic
objectives: (1) Infrastructural and capacity building; (2) Professional development; (3) Community
Engagement; (4) Academic training; and (5) Methodological advances. This pilot project program will
serve the BDHSC mission by supporting and promoting interdisciplinary Big Data Health-related research
across UofSC system. A total of 20 pilot projects were funded in 2020 and 2021 through a two-layer
review process. The funded pilot projects can be found at BDHSC website: https://bigdata.sc.edu/
Research Objectives and Scope: The purpose of the pilot project program is to stimulate and promote interdisciplinary research in Big Data health sciences by supporting meritorious applications that utilize existing data sources in order to address critical issues related to health behavior, patient care, healthcare delivery, and population health. The program will support research that uses a variety of data sources, including electronic health records data, social media data, geospatial data, genomic data, bio-nanomaterial data, and other publicly available or acquirable data. The issues to be addressed by the pilot projects can also include a variety of health outcomes at individual, community, health system or population levels.
For questions regarding this RFP and proposal submission, please contact Ms. Miranda Nixon at