September 8, 2017

Faculty, staff input sought to explore new data science initiative

Faculty and staff are being invited to take part in a campus-wide discussion on a new data science initiative being led by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. Tomás Diáz de la Rubia, Discovery Park’s chief scientist and executive director, and Jenna Rickus, associate vice provost for teaching and learning, will lead the campus conversations.

"Data science -- the grand interdisciplinary challenge to extract new knowledge from big data through advanced analytics­­­ -- presents a transformational opportunity for Purdue," says Jay Akridge, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. "It touches nearly every discipline we study and will impact the future of virtually every student we educate. The needs and opportunities here are broad -- from foundational research questions to the practical requirements of putting data science to work -- and opportunities abound for all of our faculty and many staff to engage."

The open, inclusive discussion is expected to position the University to:

* Prepare its students to engage fully in a data-driven world.

* Empower faculty by creating a research ecosystem that supports the data science needs and interests of faculty across campus.

* Engage with partners in areas of scholarly focus where Purdue brings unique strengths.

* Transform the state by realizing the potential of data science for economic development.

Diáz de la Rubia and Rickus soon will announce opportunities for faculty and staff to share their thoughts on the new initiative.

"We intend to reach rapid agreement on a set of initial strategic directions as part of this new initiative, and so in this spirit we wish to encourage you strongly to take part in these early discussions," says Suresh Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships. "Our faculty and staff will be key in shaping this effort and identifying specific areas where as an institution we are well-positioned to lead."

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