COVID Research Accelerator Launched: $1M for Research Teams Leveraging the COVID-19 Research Database

Publish Date
May 6, 2021

The COVID-19 Research Database Consortium announces new funding opportunity for research teams leveraging Real World Data available to inform medical interventions and targeted mitigation policies.

[San Francisco, California] May 6, 2021 – Datavant, the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), and the COVID-19 Research Database Consortium announced the launch of a grant program today, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program will offer researchers up to $250,000 each, enabling them to leverage the COVID-19 Research Database. This challenge seeks to prioritize research that investigates the roles of gender in the pandemic that will accelerate insights leading to best practice medical interventions and appropriately targeted mitigation policies. “HCCI is proud to join with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to broaden access to the COVID-19 Research Database and promote research into one of the most pressing global health threats of our time,” said Niall Brennan, President and CEO of HCCI.

The COVID-19 Research Database is a secure repository of HIPAA-compliant, de-identified and limited patient-level data sets, which has been made available to public health and policy researchers to further their investigations of the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on population health and economics.  The database resources are made available as part of a cross-industry partnership of leading healthcare organizations. Collaborators include AnalyticsIQ, Change Healthcare, Datavant, Elsevier, Glooko, Health Care Cost Institute, Healthjump, HealthWise Data, Medidata (a Dassault Systèmes company), Mirador Analytics, Munich Re Life US, Office Ally, Ovation, PointClickCare, QIAGEN, SAS, Snowflake, STATA, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Symphony Health (a PRA Health Sciences company), Veradigm, and Viracor Eurofins.

Over 2,000 researchers have registered for access to the Database since its inception last May, and more than 200 research projects staffed by over 500 researchers are currently underway. Researchers from more than 350 different research institutions have registered including all the country’s top 30 medical schools and numerous state and federal level health policy organizations. Research teams using the database have published their insights in numerous peer-reviewed journals and have been covered in major national media outlets. Their work has contributed to thought leadership on the safety of school reopenings, the accentuation of the opioid epidemic, the decline in preventive care and much more.

This resource is currently the largest pro-bono Real World Data ecosystem available to researchers and policy makers. The databases’ linked data set includes indicators from EHR, claims, and other data sets covering nearly 4 million COVID-19 patients. The goal of this Research Accelerator opportunity is to ensure researchers leverage this rich data source to inform public health policy regardless of whether they have previously secured financial support for their work.

“We are delighted that grant recipients will be resourced to better understand & address gender equity challenges arising from the pandemic. Our collaboration with the COVID-19 Research Database Consortium and its partners helps ensure the most important questions are answered responsibly and with scientific integrity,” said Tim Suther, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Data Solutions, Change Healthcare

“The exigence of the pandemic has forced us to reimagine how research is done, and the COVID-19 Research Database is a brilliant example” said Stephanie Reisinger Vice President and General Manager of Life Sciences Research at Veradigm.  “The funding made available to researchers furthers our mission by prioritizing research in critical areas that are often overlooked”.

“One year ago, with Datavant vision and leadership, we spun up the Covid-19 Research Database in extremely short order to address a pressing need.  Its success attested by the published research, and now additional support for research teams leveraging the data, has far exceeded our expectations” said Martin Aboitiz, CEO of Healthjump.

“The growth of the COVID-19 Research Database and the potential of scalable research infrastructure shows what we can achieve when collaborators across data and analytics, technology, academia and policy come together.  Medidata is proud to provide the underlying data environment to enable access to the research community and is excited to see funders help drive visibility and deepen our understanding of the pandemic,” said Arnaub Chatterjee, Senior Vice President of Product at Acorn AI, a Medidata company.

“Snowflake is proud to continue our support of the consortium by providing our Data Cloud as the platform to enable research teams to mobilize vast amounts of data from across sources to fuel the next wave of cutting-edge research,” said Todd Crosslin, Global Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Snowflake.

“Research teams across the globe have used SAS Health to support a variety of COVID-19 initiatives including research that analyzed disparities in underserved communities. The new financial support for researchers using the Research Database will help accelerate these insights,” said Dr. Steve Kearney, Medical Director, SAS. “SAS also understands the vital importance of training and education and is proud to now offer researchers free access to a virtual learning environment where they can further discover how to apply powerful analytics and better investigate the pandemic’s impact on different populations.”

Researchers interested in applying for a COVID Challenge grant under this call for proposals can view submission guidelines on the COVID-19 RDB website. Proposals will be accepted through Friday May 28th 2021. A panel of experts, chaired by Dr. Mark Cullen, the Founding Director of the Center for Population Health Sciences at Stanford University, will select the grant finalists. Winning proposals will be informed of their selection on June 9th, 2021.


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