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.

This is a SOURCES SOUGHT NOTICE to determine the availability of BOTH Other than Small Business (including academic and not-for-profit entities) and Small Businesses (e.g., 8(a), veteran-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, HUBZone small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, and women-owned small businesses) with the capability to meet the objectives and requirements described below. Your responses to the information requested will assist the Government in determining the appropriate acquisition method, including whether a set-aside is possible.

In addition, the Government seeks to clarify and better tailor this requirement, and is offering a virtual industry day for interested parties to familiarize themselves with the Government’s requirement; ask questions to clarify their understanding of the Government’s requirement; and provide feedback regarding industry capabilities and the state of information science, including commercial services and solutions, to meet this requirement. This INDUSTRY DAY NOTICE provides links to documents and presentations describing the Government’s requirements and objectives. Interested parties should submit questions and comments regarding this project so that the Government can refine this requirement, shape the statement of work, define measurable outcomes, etc. The Government does not intend to answer questions directly.


Translational research aspires to use the huge amounts of complex data across multiple scientific domains to develop actionable knowledge. The data comes in all forms, and represents domains from basic science to clinical data. It includes gene products, genomics, model organisms, tissues, chemicals, pathways, conditions, and patient groups

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), one of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is catalyzing the development of the Biomedical Data Translator (“Translator”), a tool to augment human reasoning in analyzing that data to provide better understanding of the pathophysiology of human disease. Translator will support the research community by offering computationally-assisted exploration of data, whether related to existing research or leading to development of new research hypotheses.

Essential to the use of Translator by biomedical researchers is an intuitive interface that enables the user to interact with complex, diverse data sets and relationships and encourages trust in the sources and search results. Among the design challenges of the Translator interface are:

  • 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;
  • Capture feedback from the user.

The contract concept presented at this Translator Industry Day is for an entirely new scope of work for a user interface (UI) that will interact with existing Translator tools. The work will include design, development, pilot release, and initial public release.  No work has started on the user interface.


The purpose of this Sources Sought Notice and Virtual Industry Day is to:

  • Obtain market research to support acquisition planning;
  • Obtain industry feedback to clarify and better tailor the requirement;
  • Allow interested parties to familiarize themselves with the requirement; 
  • Allow interested parties to ask questions to clarify their understanding of the requirement;
  • Obtain information regarding industry capabilities and the state of user interface development, search interface development, and information science, including commercial services and solutions, to meet this requirement.

The materials provided as part of this virtual industry day include:

  • This Sources Sought Notice – the attached PDF includes additional information and live links to the videos.
  • Audio-only Presentation, “Biomedical Data Translator Overview (Audio Only)”,
  • Video Presentation, “Biomedical Data Translator Architecture and Workflow”,
  • Translator User Interface Materials (PDF portfolio – 7 items):
    • “Translator and UI Background”
    • “18F Discovery Research,” GSA 18F
    • “Biomedical Data Translator Architecture and Workflow,” slide deck presented in the video presentation.
    • Four Example Use Cases:
      • “Pain Points for Pain Meds – Introduction”
      • “Pain Points for Pain Meds – Detailed”
      • “Explaining Finasteride’s Use to Treat Hair Loss: A Translator Use Case”
      • “Finding Genes with Any Connection to IL-6”
  • Extensive background on the Biomedical Data Translator:

The Product Service Code (PSC) has not been determined. Respondents may suggest appropriate PSCs. Possible PSCs include:

  • DA01, IT and Telecom – Business Application/Application Development Support Services (Labor) [includes customer experience/UX]
  • B529, Special Studies/Analysis – Scientific Data

The NAICS for this requirement has not been determined. Respondents may suggest appropriate NAICS. Possible NAICS include:

  • 541511, Custom Computer Programming Services, $30M
  • 541519, Other Computer-Related Services, $30M
  • 541690, Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services, $16.5M
  • 541990, All Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, $16.5M