Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models can solve well-specified problems, like automatically diagnosing disease or grading student essays, at scale. But applications of AI and ML for major social and scientific problems are often constrained by a lack of high-quality, publicly available data—the foundation on which AI and ML algorithms are built.

The Biden-Harris Administration should launch a multi-agency initiative to coordinate the academic, industry, and government research community to support the identification and development of datasets for applications of AI and ML in domain-specific, societally valuable contexts. The initiative would include activities like generating ideas for high-impact datasets, linking siloed data into larger and more useful datasets, making existing datasets easier to access, funding the creation of real-world testbeds for societally valuable AI and ML applications, and supporting public-private partnerships related to all of the above.