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NIH Launches Cloud Computing Initiative With Google as First Industry Partner

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health has launched a program designed to foster cloud computing use among biomedical researchers and has named Google Cloud as its first industry partner.

Broadly, the STRIDES (Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability) initiative aims to reduce the economic and technological barriers to accessing and analyzing large biomedical datasets, with the goal of accelerating biomedical advances.

As part of that mission, the STRIDES program aims to establish industry partnerships to provide NIH researchers access to "the most advanced, cost-effective computational infrastructure, tools, and services available," the agency said in a statement. This will include training for researchers to learn about the latest tools and technologies.

The initial agreement with Google Cloud will create a cost-efficient framework for NIH researchers, as well as investigators at more than 2,500 academic institutions receiving NIH support, to use Google Cloud's storage, computing, and machine-learning technologies.

The program will also involve collaborations with the NIH's Data Commons Pilot cloud computing initiative and will establish training programs for NIH-funded researchers on how to use Google Cloud.

"Through our partnership with NIH, we are bringing the power of data and the cloud to the biomedical research community globally," Gregory Moore, vice president of healthcare for Google Cloud, said in a statement. "Together, we are making it easier for scientists and physicians to access and garner insights from NIH-funded datasets with appropriate privacy protections, which will ultimately accelerate biomedical research progress toward finding treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases of our time."

STRIDES is in line with the NIH's first-ever Data Science Strategic Plan, released in June. The program also plans to establish additional industry partnerships. NIH noted that data made available through these partnerships will incorporate so-called FAIR standards endorsed by the biomedical research community to make data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable.