June 24, 2015

NITRC Wins HHS Innovates “Biggest Bang for the Buck”

NIH saves $35m through TCG’s innovation in neuroscience data sharing

The Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse (NITRC), an NIH project supported by TCG, has been lauded as a Health and Human Services (HHS) IDEA Lab “HHS Innovates Award” winner. Recognized as the project to have given the “Biggest Bang for the Buck” for providing “significant savings or return-on-investment for HHS resources expended,” the NIH award submission noted that the project has delivered “a potential cost avoidance of over $35.3 million.” NITRC was one of seven Innovation awardees, and was chosen out of over 70 applicants.

NITRC is a free one-stop-shop for science researchers that need tools such as neuroimaging analysis software, publicly available data sets, or computing power. Since its debut in 2009, NITRC has helped the neuroscience community to use software and data produced from research that, before NITRC, was routinely lost or disregarded, to make further discoveries. NITRC provides free access to data and pay-per-use access to unlimited computing power, enabling worldwide scientific collaboration with minimal startup and cost. With NITRC and its components — the Resources Registry (NITRC-R), Image Repository (NITRC-IR), and Computational Environment (NITRC-CE) — a researcher can obtain pilot or proof-of-concept data to validate a hypothesis for a few dollars.

“TCG has been a quiet but powerful player in the big data, software analytics, and cloud computing field for years now,” said Nina Preuss, TCG’s Health Programs Manager. “We’ve worked hard to level the playing field for research scientists in academic institutions worldwide by making federally funded research data easily accessible and removing the compute barriers faced by researchers with limited resources. We’re thrilled that HHS recognizes the innovations and cost savings derived from these efforts.”

TCG’s President, Daniel Turner, added, “TCG’s mission is to save time. Since time is money, we also like saving money for our clients, especially when we US taxpayers are the ultimate client. NITRC obviously fills an important gap in the neuroscience community, but to fill that gap and create value that represents a six-fold ROI is icing on an already delicious cake.”

Previous to HHS Innovates, NITRC won the 2009 Excellence.gov Award as the best example of IT-enabled collaboration in government.

About the HHS IDEA Lab

The IDEA Lab was established by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2013 in order to promote advances in organizational management centered around three core beliefs:

  • Every individual has the ability to improve the health and well-being of Americans;
  • People are more powerful when working together; and
  • There is a solution to every problem.

The IDEA Lab uses a dual approach to changing the way the government works by engaging HHS leadership at the highest levels to support the testing of new ideas and equipping HHS employees who have an idea and want to test it with new business practices, mentoring, and innovation programs.