Release Date: January 4, 2017
Submissions Due by: March 3, 2017
This is a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input regarding desired measurements to be collected as part of The HUMAN Project (THP), an interdisciplinary big data longitudinal study run out of NYU’s Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Decision Making.
The HUMAN Project’s mission is to create “an interdisciplinary research platform that serves as a public resource for learning everything possible about the connections between our minds, bodies, and environment to enable the development of new theories, therapeutics, and policy recommendations to solve the toughest societal challenges facing us today.”
To accomplish this mission, THP intends to aggregate multiple measurements of human health, behavior, and environmental conditions into a single database covering the breadth of the human experience for use by policymakers and researchers in a variety of fields. This database is a collaborative interdisciplinary resource that can be used by researchers to conduct unique studies or enrich existing studies, providing a wide array of measurements that cannot otherwise be collected in a traditional study of human beings focused on a singular aspect of human physiology or behavior.
Recent advances in technology and big data analytics have made it possible to gather information on individuals across a broad array of domains—neuroscience, genetics, medicine, psychology, economics, sociology, and urban informatics—over an extended period of time, and we now have the capabilities to utilize these tools to enhance research being conducted and enable entirely new domains of research. This approach will yield the first “360-degree view” of the dynamic patterns and feedback mechanisms between human behavior, biology, and environment in the “bio-behavioral complex,” whereas previous studies have been narrower in scope. To this end, environmental and city data (e.g. pollution and transportation) will be combined with data collected from a cohort of 4,000 households across the entirety of New York City, equating to approximately 10,000 individual residents.
This database will be a platform that researchers will be able to use to conduct focused analyses of their own. For more information on the design of The HUMAN Project, including our initial list of measurements, please visit
As a resource to be used by researchers in multiple fields, the Project requires input from those researchers to ensure it meets their needs. In order to make decisions about which measurements should be included in the database, THP would like to know which measurements would be most beneficial for your research and the best method(s) for the collection of the suggested measurements. We are seeking this information to maximize the impact and utility of the database for you and other researchers.
Our goal is to gather data that provides a holistic view of the lives of our participants. The detailed list of measurements is still fluid as we work towards the final study design, so we are able to incorporate your suggestions. The current measurements list includes (but is certainly not limited to):
- Health and Biomedical assessment: Genome and microbiome sequencing with expression profiling; metabolomic and epigenetic profiling; a physical exam, full medical history and ongoing medical records; drug and chemical exposure testing; brain structure scanning (MRI); diet assessment, sleep behavior physical activity levels, and home air and noise quality.
• Psychological assessment: Personality traits; IQ; mental health status; long term and working memory; risk preference; temporal discounting, executive function, attention, affect, and emotional reactivity; subjective well-being.
• Social and Family Dynamics assessment: Social network structure; communication partners and patterns; location capture; family interactions; bidding at auctions; game theory.
• Education and Employment assessment: Educational institutions, grades and test scores; employment institutions; promotions/transfers and salary; educational attainment; educational choices.
• Financial assessment: Detailed financial transaction records; income; regular and retirement savings; insurance; value of home, car and other assets; subjective sense of socioeconomic status.
• Economic assessment: beliefs; preferences; constraints; liquidity; consumption; economic attention; subjective well-being.
• Urban Informatics: environmental data; mobility; city services; municipal government; pollution; energy consumption; transportation; population dynamics.
• Other: Interactions with criminal justice system and civil court actions; media consumption; opinions on social issues; volunteer activities/philanthropy, recreational activities.
A more detailed list can be found at http://thehumanproject.org/wp-content/uploads/04_KHP-CD1-Ch3-Measurement-and-Technology.pdf (pp. 34-57)
It would be especially helpful to hear about:
(1) Measurements deemed necessary to collect for your field and interests, including a description of the purpose;
(2) Tools related to your desired measurements;
(3) Any foreseeable or historic issues related to your requests.
How to Submit a Response
Responses will be accepted through March 3, 2017, and must be submitted electronically through the submission form below.
Responses should be in the form of a 3-5 page paper describing recommended measurements and corresponding data collection methods that the submitting party believes should be a part of The HUMAN Project.
This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of The HUMAN Project or New York University to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it.