The Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) is a US national initiative to advance biomedical research through data sharing and online collaboration.
BIRN is funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
BIRN provides data-sharing infrastructure, software tools, strategies and advisory services – all from a single source.
BIRN's work is directly on the biomedical research community’s unique, data-intensive sharing and analysis needs, which are particularly evident in fields such as biomedical imaging and genetics.
BIRN provides a user-driven, software-based framework for research teams to share significant quantities of data – rapidly, securely and privately – across geographic distance and/or incompatible computing systems. Groups may choose whether to share data internally or with external audiences. In either scenario, hardware and data remain under the control of individual user groups.
They also offer data-sharing software tools specific to biomedical research, best practices references, expert advice and other resources. BIRN actively is developing new data-sharing tools, authorization capability, and knowledge engineering tools to help researchers make sense of new information in unique ways.
BIRN is a collaborative effort between the NCRR and a leadership consortium that includes the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI), University of Chicago, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of California at Irvine, and University of California at Los Angeles. Our interdisciplinary team consists of leading computer scientists, engineers, physicians, biomedical researchers and other experts.
Participants represent some of the nation’s premier technical and healthcare research universities, hospitals and other institutions. Such groups range from small research groups who receive NCRR grants to large consortia, such as the Nonhuman Primate Research Consortium (NHPRC) and the Cardiovascular Research Grid (CVRG).