Project Summary

As the largest funder of biomedical research in the world, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) directly and indirectly generates massive amounts of scientific data through research, grants, and contracts. The HHS Office of the Chief Information Officer and the HHS IDEA Lab want to build an innovative strategy to design, develop and link public-facing research database applications for the HHS.

Project Team

Internal Entrepreneurs
Damon Davis, HHS IDEA LAB
Keith Tucker, Office of the CIO
Cynthia Colton, Office of the CIO

External Entrepreneurs
David Portnoy

Project Details

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The goal of this project is to create a solution to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS)  current problem of multiple, disparate data sources that simultaneously meets the requirements of two new White House memoranda (Increasing Access to Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research and Open Data Policy – Managing Information as an Asset).

Creating an HHS-wide repository of research data will be beneficial not only to HHS researchers, but to the scientific community as a whole. The power of linked data has already been demonstrated in other domains. For example, collecting data about where traffic accidents happen and then linking it with geospatial data provides cyclists with a way to avoid potentially dangerous routes.  Similar data linkages can happen with medical data, as has been demonstrated by the Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) Catalog and resultant biomedical research leading to new cures and diagnostics. There is tremendous potential to capitalize on the linked data capability with research data as well.

With this project, leads from Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and the HHS IDEA Lab hope to work with staff from the relevant research agencies (e.g. the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) to create a business plan mapping out the way in which HHS can effectively develop data linkages across the organization.


HHS Entrepreneurs is one of our in-residence pathways that is bringing new talent into government. HHS Entrepreneurs pairs HHS employees with external expertise to work on an identified problem for a 12 month period. This project is one of six projects from the third cohort of HHS Entrepreneurs. Learn more about HHS Entrepreneurs.