NIH Cloud Lab

Cloud Lab removes barriers to cloud adoption by providing no-cost, customized, and scientifically relevant training, making it easier for researchers to learn about and explore the cloud with confidence.

Request a Cloud Lab AccountFor NIH employees and contractors

Request a Cloud Lab AccountFor NIH-affiliated researchers and students not employed by NIH

While cloud computing is becoming commonplace for biomedical science, researchers often face significant challenges when trying to adopt and integrate cloud-based technologies into their work. Some of the top challenges we hear about are anxiety about unpredictable costs, concerns about data privacy and security, and lack of relevant and affordable training. Cloud Lab is a self-paced, interactive, cloud-based training program designed to address these challenges and help scientists grow cloud skills to confidently conduct research in the cloud.

How It Works

Participating National Institutes of Health staff and affiliated researchers receive up to 90 days of access to a cloud account and $500 of credits to explore cloud capabilities for research and access bioinformatic tutorials and data sets – all in a secure, NIH-approved environment.

  1. Get started by selecting one of the Request Account buttons above. You’ll be prompted to complete an account request form that will help us determine your eligibility and the type of account you want. Cloud Lab currently offers Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

  2. Within a few days of approval, you’ll receive instructions for logging in to your cloud account. Your account will come with $500 of cloud credits, which are valid for up to 90 days.

  3. At this point, you can learn and explore at your own pace through weekly tips emails, interactive cloud-based tutorials, public or non-sensitive data sets, and support from NIH cloud experts. Use your account for 90 days or up to $500 in cloud costs, whichever comes first, with no risk of overspending.

  4. After the program completion, we encourage you to reflect on how you can integrate what you’ve learned into your work. If you’re interested in long-term access to cloud services, the NIH STRIDES Initiative team can help you explore available options.

Who Is Eligible

As a program of the NIH, Cloud Lab is open to:

  1. NIH employees and contractors (both scientific and administrative)
  2. NIH-affiliated researchers or students who are not employed by NIH*
  3. Previous Cloud Lab users that would like to gain experience using a different cloud service provider

You do not need any prior cloud experience to participate in Cloud Lab. The program is designed for participants of all levels, from beginners looking to gain foundational knowledge to experienced teams who want to prototype the latest cloud technologies.

* Researchers who do not have an active NIH award may be eligible if they are currently seeking funding from the NIH. To inquire about your specific case, please contact the Cloud Lab team.

What We Provide

Cloud Lab provides everything you need to quickly grow your cloud skills and confidently conduct research in the cloud.

Cloud Account and Credits

As a Cloud Lab participant, you’ll receive up to 90 days of access to one of NIH’s cloud service partners (Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure) plus $500 of cloud credits that you can use to deploy a full range of resources including but not limited to:

  • Central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processing unit (GPU) virtual machines (VMs)
  • Advanced artificial intelligence including generative AI and machine learning capabilities
  • Managed Jupyter notebooks
  • Bioinformatic workflow managers
  • Compute clusters
  • High-speed networking


Often, researchers who are interested in building their cloud skills have difficulty finding training that is affordable, relevant, and scientifically accurate. To address this challenge, Cloud Lab’s GitHub repositories compile free, NIH-recommended training resources that you can explore at your own pace with your Cloud Lab account. These repositories include a variety of NIH and external resources including non-sensitive data sets, code documentation, and interactive tutorials that demonstrate how to run realistic bioinformatic, data science, and AI workflows in the cloud.

The best part? These repositories are fully public and available for anyone to use with a self-funded cloud account.

Content in the repositories is constantly evolving as we add new resources and respond to community feedback. Be sure to come back often and check out what’s new!

If you’re new to the cloud, our Jumpstart Pages are a great way to get started. You can access the Jumpstart Pages via the sidebar on the top left of this page.

In addition to Cloud Lab, STRIDES enables NIH staff and NIH-funded researchers to access cloud courses at lower rates or at no cost with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Browse the STRIDES Training page to learn more.


During your time in Cloud Lab, you’ll have access to a team of NIH cloud and bioinformatics subject matter experts who you can contact with questions at any time. You’ll also receive weekly emails with tips and recommendations to help you succeed.

Use Cases

Cloud Lab is a good fit for any use case where the goal is to become more efficient and confident using the cloud for research. Cloud Lab is not a production research environment, nor is it a place to work with sensitive data.

Explore Generative AI

Run Generative AI (GenAI) tutorials to learn how to use this powerful new technology for your research. Click on the links below to see what’s available.

For NIH staff: Click here to join the NIH GenAI Community on Teams

Try Before You Buy

Evaluate whether cloud is a good fit for your research project in a secure environment without major time or financial commitments.

Benchmark Costs

Test out different cloud-based tools and configurations (e.g., instance type and size) to optimize your research analyses within a cost-controlled environment.

Experiment With Simple Cloud Solutions

Build proofs of concept or other simple solutions for specific scientific tasks for your research project and understand the level of effort and other details for production.

Develop New Tools

Prototype new architectures and evaluate new software and hardware combinations in cloud environments.

Supplement Your Cloud Training

Actively follow along with STRIDES training content and complete hands-on labs, engage with NIH Cloud Lab training resources, or reinforce what you’ve learned in a training course.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the program, would like to provide feedback, or you’re looking for technical support, please contact the Cloud Lab team at the National Institutes of Health at

Terms and Conditions

Cloud Lab is not designed for work with sensitive data and users are subject to the following Terms and Conditions.