Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa

Institute or Center: Fogarty International Center (FIC) with support from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Project: Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa)

Skills sought:

  • data science architecture and engineering expertise.
  • demonstrated leadership, management, and communication skills.
  • experience working with diverse stakeholders.
  • appreciation for supporting data science activities within low- to middle-income countries.
  • experience working with enhanced cloud computing platforms to enable grantees to host their tools.
  • advanced data management – development of approaches that ensure current and future data sets are FAIR.
  • familiarity with best practices and challenges for developing sustainable data repositories, knowledgebases, and federated database systems.
  • knowledge of FHIR® standards.
  • experience with issues of data privacy/data security – new ideas in cryptography, provenance (blockchain, etc.), and ethical issues on use and reuse of data.

About the position: FIC and NIBIB seek a data scientist to join the DS-I Africa program team as a DATA Scholar to provide technical leadership in the development, data management, and coordination of the Open Data Science Platform component of the program.

The Scholar will work with stakeholders to complete DS-I Africa’s conception (during 2020) and lay its foundations (2021). The DATA Scholar will work with an external team on an Open Data Science Platform, which is envisioned as a cloud-based data sharing gateway based on a federated model. The Scholar will also work with the external team, FIC, and NIBIB to develop tools and workflows that enable cross-network projects and serve as a technical resource for the initiative. The DATA Scholar will have the unique opportunity to work directly with NIH institute directors and senior leadership in multiple institutes within the NIH; 19 institutes and centers are currently supporting the DS-I Africa program.

The DATA Scholar will also have an opportunity to provide expertise to the data science sections of NIBIB’s strategic planning initiative.

About the work: The DS-I Africa program examines whether advances in data science developed and/or applied in the African context can be used to spur discoveries and innovations that ultimately promote significant improvements in health for African individuals, communities, and populations. One of the program’s supporting objectives is to help develop a trans-African network of data scientists by establishing an Open Data Science Platform and Coordinating Center. The Open Data Science Platform is expected to enable access to and sharing of research data generated and analyzed by the DS-I Africa program, both for the research hub awardees as well as the larger research community. Streamlined access to the data via such a platform and associated tools, workspaces, and other value-added services will help easily connect researchers, facilitate discovery, and enable analysis and reuse of the datasets to support desired use cases and accelerate data-driven research. It is expected that the overall DS-I Africa program will leverage existing programs and resources funded by NIH in Africa such as Human Heredity & Health in Africa (H3Africa), the Medical and Health Professional Education Partnership Initiatives (MEPI and HEPI), and African Centers of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Data Science (ACE).

Datasets involved: The Open Data Science Platform that will be developed through the DS-I Africa program will work with new and existing datasets used by the DS-I Africa research hub awardees. This may include diverse datasets involving genomic, clinical (infectious and non-communicable diseases), imaging, geospatial, and environmental data. 

Why this project matters: The Scholar will have the opportunity to interact with and support international investigators and will address the unmet need in health for African individuals, communities, and populations.

Work Location: Bethesda, MD, with opportunities for international travel

Work environment: The DATA Scholar will work with both FIC and NIBIB leadership and the FIC and NIBIB co-lead coordinators responsible for DS-I Africa program management.

FIC will help with the Scholar’s foundational work by providing guidance and support relevant to the Scholar’s global health interests.

The DATA scholar will report to NIBIB leadership or senior NIBIB designee on the DS-I Africa leadership team. The Scholar will be a senior special project leader embedded in the NIBIB Division of Health Informatics Technologies, which will provide guidance relevant to navigating the NIH and serve as the NIBIB technical contact.

To apply to this or other DATA Scholar positions, please see instructions here: datascience.nih.gov/data-scholars

This page last reviewed on January 29, 2020