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Biomedical data are being generated and digitized at unprecedented rates. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, massive amounts of data have been used to rapidly understand, predict and treat COVID-19. With so much data at their fingertips, biomedical researchers across the globe are turning to cloud services to analyze vast datasets and extract lifesaving insights.

Today, we are thrilled to announce a new partnership between Microsoft and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate biomedical research in a post-pandemic world. As an approved cloud platform for the NIH’s Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) Initiative, Microsoft Azure will bring the power of the cloud to the biomedical research community.

Using Microsoft Azure’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, NIH and NIH-funded researchers will be able to optimize processing, storage and analysis of large datasets and computationally intensive workloads to understand and treat our toughest human diseases. We are proud to be a part of the program and contribute to these essential research efforts.

Harnessing the power of the cloud to accelerate biomedical research discovery

The NIH STRIDES Initiative accelerates biomedical research by providing access to cost-effective, advanced cloud technology and services. Through its partnerships, the STRIDES Initiative offers NIH and NIH-funded researchers access to rich datasets and state-of-the-art computational infrastructure, tools and services at a discounted rate. It also supports researchers through consultations, cloud training, program set-up and reporting services.

“We believe the cloud can help democratize access to the most advanced analytical technologies and enable researchers to perform complex analyses without the need for local infrastructure. Expanding our network of providers and access to the most advanced computational infrastructure, tools and services provides the flexibility that our researchers need to move research forward,” said Andrea T. Norris, Director of NIH’s Center for Information Technology and NIH Chief Information Officer. “Partnering with Microsoft Azure as a cloud service provider furthers our goal to enhance discovery and improve efficiency in biomedical research.”

Using cloud services improves efficiency and facilitates reproducible science. Migrating to the Microsoft Azure cloud can help biomedical researchers quickly run complex workloads, easily access and manage research data and collaborate seamlessly with colleagues around the world. Through the STRIDES Initiative, Azure customers will have access to the latest cloud and AI technology, enterprise-level support from biomedical research subject matter experts and custom training to maximize their research in the cloud – all at a discounted rate for STRIDES Initiative participants.

Supporting researchers in many biomedical disciplines through collaboration

At Microsoft, we have an approach to healthcare innovation that’s both ambitious and broad. Our team is committed to democratizing technology through public-private partnerships, open-source software and data transparency. We believe the future of healthcare should be built by many and accessed by all.

Collaborations between technology companies and research organizations makes our approach a reality. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a partnership with the Broad Institute and Verily to accelerate innovations in biomedicine through a secure, scalable and open source biomedical research platform, called Terra. The platform empowers researchers across the globe to access data, run analysis tools and collaborate. Terra is actively used by thousands of researchers, including NIH-powered projects like the All of Us program and BioData Catalyst. It is connected to many large NIH-funded datasets that are in the cloud – and more.

We have already seen leading healthcare and research institutions like UCLA Health adopt Microsoft Azure to speed medical discoveries and improve patient care. With its advanced AI and machine learning tools, Microsoft Azure efficiently organizes, processes and analyzes the system’s vast stores of medical data at lightning speed. The solution provides UCLA Health with advanced computing tools to enhance collaboration among researchers and more rapidly interpret and mobilize insights.

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, we must work together to advance the treatment of human diseases. We are honored to collaborate with the NIH to help researchers solve these challenges, in support of a healthier and more sustainable global population.

To learn more about Microsoft Azure through the NIH STRIDES Initiative, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftstrides/

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