This opportunity is closed. 

Submitting PI:

  • Tim Bickmore, CCIS 
  • Internal: 01/19/2018
  • Proposal: 03/19/2018


  • Amount: up to $250,000 per year
  • Duration: up to 4 years


The National Library of Medicine seeks applications for novel informatics and data science approaches that can help individuals gather, manage and use data and information about their personal health. A goal of this program is to advance research and application by patients and the research community through broadly sharing the results via publication, and through open source mechanisms for data or resource sharing.

Areas of development suggested below are not meant to limit the scope or creativity of proposed projects:

  • Constructing a personal health library: informatics approaches that help a person gather together different types of health data/information/knowledge into a single, searchable resource for personal use, including intelligent mapping tools for vocabulary used to describe elements of the library.
  • Managing a personal health information library: novel informatics approaches that make it easy for an average user to expand or remove entries, make notes or corrections, including intelligent tools that alert the user to new information about topics covered in a personal health information library.
  • Using a personal health library: data science and informatics approaches that make it easy to find and use the information stored there, including visual tagging, text summarization, graphics translation, knowledge mapping, suggestions for tutorials, analytic and visualization techniques that make the information understandable based on characteristics of the individual user or group.
  • Digital librarian/assistant for personal health library: data science and informatics approaches that bring machine intelligence to the management and use of a personal health information library through personalized alerts and suggestions, literacy aids, translators or other approaches, taking into account characteristics of the individual user or group.

Applicants must base their proposed work on an informed profile of the intended users, and, the work should be developed through interaction with the user. The strongest projects will provide approaches that incorporate health data and information from more than one source, such as diagnostic images and links to full-text articles or genome sequence data linked to a family health history. An application should be centered on the problem area being addressed and the intended audience, propose a possible solution that employs novel data science or informatics, and undertake a pilot that will result in evidence of the degree of success and/or needed next steps. Applicants should expect to involve the intended users in their work.

Applicants may propose new tools or extensions to the capabilities of existing open source tools such as personal health record systems, by adding new features or extending capabilities of the tool. In either case, scientific innovation is key. Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of freely available public information resources available from NLM and others, such as MedLINEPlus, Genetics Home Reference, PUBMED Central, Online courses and tutorials.

Applicants should plan to undertake one or more pilots to test their ideas with the intended user group. If pilots focus on a single disease or health condition, applicants should provide assurance that their approach is generalizable to others. Awardees are expected to share the results of their work through publication, and through open source mechanisms for data or resource sharing. The plan for data/resource sharing will be discussed during the initial scientific merit review.

Projects that propose the following outcomes would not be appropriate for this FOA:

  • A tool that requires the user to purchase a commercial off-the-shelf product.
  • An information resource that requires payment for access to information.
  • A tool that supports management of only a single kind of health data or information.
  • An approach that does not allow the user to expand or update the contents.
  • An approach that doesn’t allow the user to update, annotate or add/delete data.
  • An approach that limits the user’s ability to share information from her/his personal health library with another person or organization.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

Only one proposal may be submitted by an eligible organization. If interested in submitting, please contact Karen Drew (-4824) and submit a 2 page pre-proposal following the NU Procedure for Programs with Limited Submissions Please review the Limited Submission Procedures as they have been updated. 

Potential applicants are urged to discuss their proposed project with the Research Contact listed below, for advice about the suitability of their idea for this funding initiative.

Contact Information

Scientific/Research Contact(s):

Alan VanBiervliet, Ph.D.
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Telephone: 301-594-4882