Amazon joins NIH cloud initiative for biomedical research

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A second major vendor has joined a National Institutes of Health effort to enable biomedical researchers to harness the power of commercial cloud computing.

Under NIH’s Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) initiative, Amazon Web Services will make a wide range of technologies available to researchers at more than 2,500 academic institutions nationwide who receive NIH support.

“Teaming with Amazon Web Services will give NIH researchers powerful cloud-based resources to more efficiently collaborate and analyze data,” says Andrea Norris, NIH’s chief information officer and director of the agency’s Center for Information Technology. “Expanding our cloud service provider network will allow us to provide the research community access to the tools they need to advance science. AWS’s longstanding leadership in the cloud space will help bolster the innovative research being conducted through NIH support.”

AWS is the second cloud service provider to partner with the agency on the STRIDES initiative. In July, NIH announced that Google Cloud would be providing storage, computing and machine learning technologies to the effort.

Also See: Google the first to join NIH effort to use cloud in research

According to NIH, the agency’s initial focus will be on making high-value data sets more accessible to researchers via the cloud, as well as experimenting with new ways to optimize technology-intensive research.

The STRIDES initiative fits with NIH’s new strategic plan for data science which called for leveraging commercial cloud capabilities for use in biomedical research. Specifically, the plan made the case that cloud environments “have the potential to streamline NIH data use by allowing rapid and seamless access, as well as to improve efficiencies by minimizing infrastructure and maintenance costs.”

In addition, the plan called for the agency take advantage of “what is available in the private sector, either through strategic partnerships or procurement, to create a workable Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the NIH and to support the important work these investigators are doing to accelerate discoveries in biomedical research,” says Teresa Carlson, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS. “We’re committed to providing those researchers participating in the STRIDES initiative with access to high-value NIH datasets, enabling them to further their research to study, treat, and prevent the most devastating diseases.”

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