NIH RFP: Biomedical Data Translator User Interface Development

Updated July 26, 2021

Notice ID: 75N95021R00018

The purpose of this requirement is to work with NCATS to develop a user interface for the Biomedical Data Translator. The contractor will work with NCATS and parts of the Translator development consortium (currently fifteen different teams from within and outside the Government) to develop a user interface for biomedical researchers to interact with Translator.

As the Translator program enters the Development phase, the design of the interface is critical/imminent to ensure that the development of the core system supports the needs of the users. The awardees of the Biomedical Data Translator: Development funding opportunity are continuing to develop integrated tools that connect diverse types of data to augment human reasoning and inference for understanding the pathophysiology of human disease. Individual teams have subject-matter experts that utilize components or tools to validate findings, however there is no user interface for Translator. Through the Translator User Interface Contract, the program will develop an interface concurrently with the consortium developing the core system.

For the back-end Development phase, the funded teams are responsible for the implementation of three components which are described in the Biomedical Data Translator: Development funding opportunity announcement.

  1. Knowledge Providers seek out, integrate, and provide high-value AI-ready data sources within a specific scope of knowledge relevant to Translator.
  2. The Autonomous Relay Agents consists of agents that determine which knowledge providers to invoke in response to a query from the Autonomous Relay System. The ARS will be built by NCATS and will provide the primary interaction between the user interface and Autonomous Relay Agents.
  3. Translator Standards and Reference Implementation component manages the development of the Translator standards as well as utilities that are integrated into many knowledge providers and autonomous relay agents…

A fourth component is the user interface to be developed under this contract that leverages the input and output of the Autonomous Relay System in accordance with the standards and reference implementation.

The Autonomous Relay System and other components are graph-based and, in response to a query graph, will generate multiple answer graphs depicting a summary of relevant relationships discovered from searching over 100 sources of data and knowledge. The provenance of the asserted relationships will also be associated with the graphs. By drawing from so many different data sources, these computer-generated representations of knowledge go far beyond a search of indexed information. At the same time, just as with searches of indexed information, each query will result in numerous answers graphs. Our objective is to develop a user interface that facilitates biomedical researchers interactively exploring Translator resources and constructing new research hypotheses while ensuring that the emerging standards and development of the Translator component tools support user needs…

Read more here.

Posted March 29, 2021

Notice ID: 75N95021R00018

“The National Institutes of Health, through the National Institute on Drug Abuse Office of Acquisition – NCATS Section, is seeking capability statements related to development of a user interface for the Biomedical Data Translator.”

“The contractor will work with NCATS and parts of the Translator development consortium (currently fifteen different teams from within and outside the Government) to develop a user interface for biomedical researchers to interact with Translator. “

“The development of a user interface poses several distinct design challenges for the developer, including but not limited to:

  • presentation of multiple complex knowledge graph “answers” in response to a single query;
  • establishing confidence in the ability of Translator to address the user’s question by providing provenance of the knowledge returned to the user;
  • capturing the collection and history of user decisions used to formulate, iterate, filter and merge results as they develop their query; and
  • gathering feedback from the user. Translator requires an intuitive interface that encourages trust while enabling the user to consume complex, diverse results.

“The intended users of Translator – biomedical researchers – typically have a set of sites and computational tools they use that allow them to explore information in their area of research. Since these users may be super or power users of their current toolset, the interface for Translator will need to familiarize biomedical researchers with different data types from diverse sources that are the result of connections uncovered by Translator. The interface should engage users without being overwhelming or intimidating. The answers and supporting evidence that Translator will present may be novel and unfamiliar to biomedical researchers, however Translator must present these results in a way that evokes both trust and curiosity while also enabling and encouraging the user to explore (incrementally and wholly) and iterate. The interface must allow the user to formulate their intent and iteratively increase the relevance of the knowledge returned for their questions. Ultimately, we expect “answers” to be critically evaluated by our users, and want to solicit and capture feedback on both systematic and specific complications that are encountered in the ongoing use of Translator. This feedback will loop back to the development teams to address in later iterations…”

“It is anticipated that performance of the contract will include:

  • User research including identifying and working with biomedical researchers of this novel system
  • User interface design based on the user research insights
  • Agile development and testing…”

Read more here.



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