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National Cancer Institute Requests $88M Bioinformatics Increase for FY 2004


The National Cancer Institute is serious about bioinformatics. For the 2004 fiscal year, the agency is requesting a total increase of $1.3 billion over its 2003 budget of $4.6 billion and has earmarked $88 million of the potential increase for bioinformatics.

According to its planning document for FY 2004 (available at, NCI plans to distribute its requested funds in line with four primary objectives:

Expand NCI’s core informatics infrastructure to support and integrate NCI-supported basic, clinical, translational, and population research initiatives. ($49.0 million)

  • Enhance integration of data and development of tools from NCI’s Extraordinary Opportunities; facilitate information exchange within and between NCI-supported research initiatives; and provide support for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence and Cancer Center efforts. ($29.0 million)
  • Establish a toolbox of open-source informatics applications and services that support cancer research activities. ($5.0 million)
  • Expand the research infrastructure that uses the NCI “knowledge stack,” assembling common vocabulary, standard data elements, and information models to further the exchange of cancer information and data among the cancer community. ($5.0 million)
  • Expand IT-based support services to enhance planning, execution, and communication of NCI’s research portfolio. ($10.0 million)

Create a community matrix of interoperable data sources, analytic tools, and computational resources that provide an extensible plug-and-play informatics capability for the cancer research community. ($21.5 million)

  • Enable other organizations’ information systems to work seamlessly with NCI’s; establish a minimum of five academic, government, and commercial strategic partnerships in a research park setting where all partners can work together to address bioinformatics questions. ($15.0 million)
  • Use a minimum of 20 investigator-based awards that build on the NCI informatics core to deploy resources to the cancer research community and to facilitate rapid deployment of related new research initiatives. ($6.5 million)

Expand the capacity of cancer research institutions to perform interdisciplinary informatics research. ($11.5 million)

  • Establish a network of bioinformatics research centers to work with and through the NIH Biomedical Informatics Science and Technology Initiative, using an interdisciplinary management team to select and coordinate the centers. ($5.0 million)
  • Expand institutional infrastructure by providing supplements to NCI-supported research organizations. ($6.5 million)

Support bioinformatics training for both experienced and new scientists. ($3.0 million)

  • Recruit new scientists through 20 development awards. ($1.5 million)
  • Cross-train experienced scientists through transition awards. ($1.5 million)

NCI is requesting an additional $3.0 million for management and support for bioinformatics in FY 2004.

— BT

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