The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is world-renowned for research leadership and its unique mission to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives. To advance this mission and remain at the forefront of environmental health and biomedical science innovation, NIEHS priorities are continuously updated. As a result, NIEHS Informatics and Information Technology (I&IT) must also constantly adapt and improve. In guiding these efforts, the Cyberinfrastructure Leadership Committee (CLC) is honored to present this I&IT Strategic Roadmap.
The roadmap will help to ensure that the institute has the essential technology, tools, and expertise to advance science, accelerate the translation of data to knowledge to action, and enhance scientific stewardship. Success will integrate excellence in enterprise and scientific computational systems, data science, and website communications in support of the critical priorities of the entire NIEHS community.
Development of the roadmap was guided by a grassroots effort that combined input from both technology users and providers. It aligns the goals and priorities of the NIEHS community with technology and its governing and regulatory principles. The institute has made significant strides to enable research, grant making, and administrative processes that are fully integrated and reliant upon technology tools, but there is much more to accomplish. Real success in implementing the roadmap depends on continued close collaboration between the CLC and the NIEHS community. Working together, the institute will maximize scientific progress through optimal I&IT capabilities.
All aspects of I&IT will be informed by the roadmap. Enterprise IT efforts will assure IT, as well as data security and privacy, and promote new best practices for technology support, infrastructure, business process improvement, applications development, and governance.
Scientific IT efforts will advance the diverse and specific needs in the laboratories and clinic and expand opportunities and infrastructure for scientific discovery through data- and model-driven scientific computing. Data science, as an expanding critical element of all scientific processes, will enhance data utility and provide opportunity for more holistic data understanding, emphasizing standards and policies that make data and metadata findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable, and computable (FAIR+). Website-based systems will promote communications and education and are the critical public interface to NIEHS science. The roadmap supports integration of these efforts and highlights dependencies and opportunities for expanded coordination.
The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), passed by Congress in December 2014, is a historic law that represents the first major overhaul of federal information technology in almost 20 years. FITARA mandates process efficiencies that impact the entire technology ecosystem. Guided by these goals and principles, NIEHS will continue to reduce and limit the growth of on-premise resources, and instead will employ applicable outsource technology tools. Expanded implementation of cloud technologies will help manage I&IT costs, while increasing user-directed capabilities. The institute will further invest in science-enhancing resources, such as graphics processing units that power machine learning and emerging methods, including linked data technologies for increasing data usability and integration.
The roadmap is intended to represent management themes and priorities. Its purpose is to characterize the overall I&IT landscape and guide the management of that landscape, to achieve a more robust and agile system that effectively supports institute research plans.
Finally, the committee reiterates that continuous collaboration and engagement with the entire NIEHS community is critical to success.
With sincere appreciation,
The NIEHS Cyberinfrastructure Leadership Committee