Joint NSF/NIH Initiative on Quantitative Approaches to Biomedical Big Data (QuBBD)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

Recent advances in medical and healthcare technologies are creating a paradigm shift in how medical practitioners and biomedical researchers approach the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases.  New imaging technologies, advances in genetic testing, and innovations in wearable and/or ambient sensors are allowing researchers to predict health outcomes and develop personalized treatments or interventions.

Coupled with the rapid growth in computing and infrastructure, researchers now have the ability to collect, store, and analyze vast amounts of health- and disease-related data from biological, biomedical, behavioral, social, environmental, and clinical studies.  The explosion in the availability of biomedical big data from disparate sources, and the complex data structures including images, networks, and graphs, pose significant challenges in terms of visualization, modeling, and analysis. 

While there have been some encouraging developments related to foundational mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches for big data challenges over the past decade, there have been relatively few opportunities for collaboration on challenges related to biomedical data science.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognize that fundamental questions in basic, clinical, and translational research could benefit greatly from multidisciplinary approaches that involve experts in quantitative disciplines such as mathematics, statistics, and computer science. 

The Quantitative Approaches to Biomedical Big Data Program is designed to support research that addresses important application areas at the intersection of the biomedical and data sciences by encouraging inter- and multi-disciplinary collaborations that focus on innovative and transformative approaches to address these challenges.

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  September 28, 2016; September 12, 2017; Second Tuesday in September, Annually Thereafter

Agency Website



Amount Description

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

It is estimated that approximately $5 million ($2 million from NSF, $3 million from NIH) will be available for each year of this competition to fund new applications. Award sizes are expected to range from $200,000 to $300,000 per year (total costs) with durations of up to 3 years. Estimated program budget, number of awards, and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds and receipt of proposals of adequate quality.

Upon conclusion of the review process, meritorious proposals may be recommended for funding by either NIH or NSF, at the option of the agencies, not the proposer. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science

External Deadline

September 28, 2016