The Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) is an NCRR initiative aimed at addressing biomedical researchers' need to access and analyze data at diverse sites throughout the country. BIRN brings together hardware and develops the software necessary for a scalable network of databases and computational resources. Issues of user authentication, data integrity, security, and data ownership are also addressed.
Focus on NeuroImaging:
The plan is to focus on research involving neuroimaging. This will enable BIRN to take advantage of the relatively advanced level of sophistication of the neuroimaging community in the use of information technology. An essential feature has been the creation of infrastructure that can be deployed rapidly at other research centers throughout the country that may have research emphases outside of neuroimaging. This means that in addition to scalability, the software/hardware must be reusable and extensible.
BIRN draws heavily on resources of the next generation internet that is funded by the National Science Foundation for both design and implementation. The initial awards join General Clinical Research Centers (GCRCs) and co-located Biomedical Technology Research Resources (P41s) to establish the necessary infrastructure in the context of ongoing neuroimaging research projects.