Big Data Scientist Training Enhancement Program (BD-STEP)

The growth in oncology-related data has surpassed the development of a workforce capable of analyzing these data, marking a missed opportunity in cancer research. The Big Data Scientist Training and Enhancement Program (BD-STEP), co-managed by the National Cancer Institute and the Veterans Health Administration, seeks to fill this gap by training the next generation of healthcare data scientists.  

Competitively selected postdoctoral fellows from STEM-related backgrounds with demonstrated computational expertise are matched to VA medical centers for one-year fellowships. With joint mentorship from academic investigators and VA clinical researchers and care providers, fellows are immersed in collaborative training and research environments. Fellows gain exposure to the clinical setting and enrich their data science skills using VA data resources, including:

  • Clinical data from VA’s integrated national healthcare system
  • Genetic data from the Million Veterans Program (MVP)
  • Research and care from the Precision Oncology Program
  • Diagnosis and treatment info from the VA Central Cancer Registry


Approved sites provide fellows with graduate-level training in clinical, health services, and bioinformatics research. Each site provides an overview of how they understand and apply big data in their clinical research setting, including the ethical and legal implications; how data are generated while providing clinical care and how those data are aggregated at local, regional, and national levels; and how BD-STEP trainees will participate in a research project involving such data.

Stipend rates for Fiscal Year 2018 Year 1 Fellows are listed below for each site:

Stipend rates (FY2018, Year 1 Fellows)









Palo Alto 




For more information on BD-STEP, please contact