06/20/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/19/2019 19:24
June 19, 2019
[Attachment] The National Science Foundation is awarding a second round of funding for the Regional Big Data Innovation Hubs - organizations launched in 2015 to build and strengthen data science partnerships across industry, academia, nonprofits and government to address scientific and societal challenges.
Each of the hubs will receive $4 million over four years for a total investment of $16 million, double the budget for the first round of Big Data Hubs awards. The University of Washington, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Diego, will continue to coordinate the West Big Data Innovation Hub, or West Hub.
'For more than a decade, the eScience Institute has worked to bridge government, business, and cross-disciplinary academia in order to advance data-intensive discovery in the broadest imaginable range of fields,' said Ed Lazowska, Principal Investigator of West Hub, Founding Director of the eScience Institute and a UW professor of computer science and engineering. 'Through our partnership with Berkeley and UCSD in leading the NSF's West Hub, we have been extending this to the 13-state western region.
[Attachment]The UW leadership team for this collaborative award also includes West Hub Deputy Director and Co-Principal Investigator Sarah Stone, who is also Executive Director of the eScience Institute, along with Co-Principal Investigator Bill Howe, an associate professor in the UW Information School.
The West Hub's first three years of operation have included a diverse set of application-focused projects: develop data analysis and tools to support access to safe drinking water; better understand disease through all 20,000 human proteins; and facilitate new insights in transportation safety. The Hub also supports cross-cutting efforts to produce frameworks and resources useful to multiple areas of inquiry and practice, from data sharing and cloud computing to responsible data science.
The next four years will include an emphasis on developing and enabling translational data science, with signature initiatives including:
'By catalyzing partnerships that integrate academic researchers into the fabric of communities across the U.S., we can accelerate and deepen the impact of basic research on a range of societal issues, from water management to efficient transportation systems,' said Beth Plale, one of the NSF program directors managing the Big Data Hubs awards.
Participants at a West Big Data Innovation Hub meeting.University of Washington
Leveraging lessons learned from four years of the UW Data Science for Social Good Program, the West Hub will host a training course and develop a guide for organizations interested in creating programs pairing student fellows with data scientist mentors and project leads from academia, government or the private sector. The West Hub's focus on societal-facing challenges will drive collaborations in topics such as transportation, public health, sustainable urban planning and disaster recovery.
'The continued support from the National Science Foundation for the West Big Data Innovation Hub confirms the importance of the Hub in bringing together diverse local, regional and national partners to engage in using modern data science to tackle societal challenges,' said UW Provost Mark Richards.
As part of their efforts to increase workforce readiness in the region, the West Hub will partner with The Carpentries to host data science Train-the-Trainer workshops, especially aiming to engage underrepresented groups and geographic areas that are not currently served by cognate programs. The partnership builds upon prior training workshops that included local government leaders across the western region and the first Data Carpentry event with a tribal community.
'Developing innovative, effective solutions to grand challenges requires linking scientists and engineers with local communities,' said Jim Kurose, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. 'The Big Data Hubs provide the glue to achieve those links, bringing together teams of data science researchers with cities, municipalities and anchor institutions.'
An example of the unique team formation resulting from West Hub community engagement can be found in the growth of an NSF-funded project at Boise State University's School of Public Policy, which focused on criminal justice and police data, public safety and community trust.
'By facilitating data sharing with industry partners, and connecting researchers from Idaho with police departments in Washington and Arizona, we supported work that led to new levels of collaboration and new connections for national-scale initiatives,' said West Hub Executive Director and Co-Principal Investigator Meredith Lee.
Many of the West Hub's continuing initiatives and collaborations will highlight challenges surrounding data ethics and responsible data science, bringing communities together through opportunities such as workshops on translational data science, Data for Good Exchange efforts and FAIR Data Awareness and Data Reuse Labs.
As a new service to the community, each Big Data Hub will maintain a seed fund for translational data science collaborations as part of its project budget. This seed fund will provide small grants to pilot early feasibility studies for innovative new solutions to grand challenges of importance to the region. The West Hub's requests for collaborative seed projects will serve to gather compelling, timely and actionable community ideas throughout the year. Embarking on the next phase of growth and national coordination, the Hubs will also work with the NSF and additional partners to host an All Hubs All Hands community data science meeting which will be open to the public as a signature event in 2020.
###Tag(s): big data • College of Engineering • Ed Lazowska • eScience Institute • Mark Richards • Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering