NIMH Creates Division of Data Science and Technology
• Institute Update
On October 23, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announced the creation of a new Division of Data Science and Technology (DST). DST will replace NIMH’s former Office of Technology Development and Coordination (OTDC). The decision to replace OTDC with DST was made in response to the increased demand for grant and contract funding in technology-related areas.
DST provides a large amount of infrastructure to NIMH investigators, including large-scale sequencing, brain and tissue banks, data archives, nonhuman primate resources, and shared instrumentation. DST will continue to support research into new tools, technologies, and approaches for brain and behavioral research and provide infrastructure to support that research. DST will provide this support by:
- Creating and directing plans to advance scientific informatics and technology development
- Coordinating NIMH’s participation in The Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® Initiative, or The BRAIN Initiative®
- Overseeing NIMH efforts related to the development of technologies and scientific informatics
- Managing the NIMH Data Archive
- Managing NIMH infrastructure projects needed to support mental health research
- Serving as the NIMH representative to all NIH-wide committees and groups on technology development and informatics
Two new branches have been created to support the work of DST:
- Technology Development Branch: The Technology Development Branch supports grants and contracts that develop new research tools and technologies, including NIMH’s work in the BRAIN Initiative. These tools include, but are not limited to, new optical technologies, magnetic resonance imaging technologies, cellular and molecular tools, and computational approaches to analyzing data.
- Infrastructure Branch: The Infrastructure Branch supports grants and contracts that provide infrastructure for the mental health research community. The largest infrastructure activities in the branch are the NIH NeuroBioBank , which provides human brain tissue for scientific research, and the NIMH Data Archive , which stores human subjects data collected by NIMH grant recipients.
Greg Farber, Ph.D., who served as OTDC director since 2014, is leading the new division. Dr. Farber will continue to lead infrastructure activities and ensure that they are integrated into other NIH activities that provide infrastructure to the research community. He will also help DST navigate and respond to increasing and complex funding demands.
Dr. Farber brings a wealth of experience in informatics and data management policy to DST. Having led many NIH and NIMH informatics efforts, Dr. Farber has collaborated with the NIH Office of the Director, the NIH Office of Extramural Research, and the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy, working to advise on the establishment and execution of the NIH-wide Data Management and Sharing Policy . Additionally, he has made influential contributions to global data sharing in his work on behalf of NIMH with the Wellcome Trust and the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders.
To learn more about DST, visit https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/organization/dst.