Flywheel to Serve as Research Platform for Understanding Pediatric Brain Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund research collaboration among 25 global sites

MINNEAPOLIS — (June 15, 2022) — Flywheel, the leading data management platform for biomedical research and collaboration, has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support research on the neurodevelopmental health of children growing up in poverty and other adverse environments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The multi-year grant will focus on providing a centralized, cloud-based research infrastructure to an international cohort of researchers led by King’s College of London. The distributed research teams will use Flywheel to curate, share, and analyze MRI scans of young children between the ages of 0 and 24 months across 25 LMICs located in Africa and Asia. Flywheel’s ability to capture data from many sources, automate research workflows, and provide secure sharing between the research teams will increase productivity and eliminate the IT burdens normally associated with a multi-site initiative of this magnitude.

“We’re looking forward to leveraging Flywheel not only to make data easily accessible to our neuroimaging partners around the world, but also to develop shared analytic pipelines and maintain consistency and compatibility,” said Professor Steven Williams, PhD, Professor of Neuroimaging Sciences at King’s College London, and a principal investigator on the project. “This project will ultimately build the knowledge and analytic capacity of LMIC researchers, allowing them to further optimize neuro-focused interventions in their settings.”

“We are honored to participate in this important project,” said Can Akgun, PhD, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Flywheel. “By leveraging our comprehensive research data solution, the team will now focus on gaining a deeper understanding of pediatric brain development rather than spending valuable time on management of data and computational workflows. We believe this research effort will make a major contribution in improving the health of future generations.” 

Hyperfine’s MRI scanners have been used to acquire brain scans for this project, supported by grant funding from the Gates Foundation since 2021. The data generated to date will be migrated to the Flywheel platform, where research teams will securely access and curate the data, leverage existing algorithms and generate custom ones with support from the Flywheel team. Additionally, a direct connection will be established between Hyperfine and Flywheel for new scans going forward to ensure immediate access for quality checking and automated data pre-processing.

“Flywheel was founded to accelerate imaging research and collaboration worldwide, which aligns perfectly with the goals of this project,” said Jim Olson, CEO of Flywheel. “We are excited to help enable this important work in understanding brain development for those growing up in poverty.”

About Flywheel

Flywheel is the revolutionary research data management platform powering healthcare innovation by accelerating collaboration, enabling machine learning, and streamlining the massive task of data aggregation, curation and management. By leveraging cloud scalability and automating research workflows, Flywheel helps organizations scale research data and analysis, improve scientific collaboration and accelerate discoveries. Flywheel offers comprehensive solutions for life sciences, pharmaceutical, biotech, academic, and clinical research. Flywheel is headquartered in Minneapolis and has offices in the Bay Area, St. Louis, and Budapest. For more information on our mission and products, visit or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.