As a follow-up to the CCC/CRA Industry Academic Survey, conducted in spring of 2015 and the CCC Industry Roundtable Discussion held on July 24, 2015, the CCC is sponsoring a program on Industry-Academic Collaboration. The goal of this program is to catalyze and foster partnerships between industry and academic research by creating mechanisms for early career researchers in academia and industry representatives to interact and explore ways to work together.
The CCC will implement these programs through the four National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs (BD Hubs). The Hubs are coordinated by top data scientists at Columbia University (Northeast Hub), Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina (South Hub), the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (Midwest Hub) and the University of Washington, UC Berkeley and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego (West Hub).
The Northeast BD Hub has two primary projects: The Young Innovator Internship and the Knowledge Exchange. Young Innovator Internships will give “Young Innovators” (MS students who have one year to graduation or PhD students who have two years or less until graduation) an opportunity to work on big data analytics with small companies, local government agencies, and NGOs. The Knowledge Exchange has two components: a lecture series and the visiting scholar program that will support visits by a postdoc or faculty member to small companies, government agencies, or NGOs for 1 summer month and visits by industry, government or NGO researchers to academia. The hub will also host a 25-person Data Science Best Practices Workshop to review and establish a set of best practices for data sharing and related concerns. While the guide lines may include recommendations on how to enable necessary infrastructure the emphasis will be on designing process and legal frameworks to enable large scale data sharing rather than on developing or implementing infrastructure components.
The South BD Hub also features two programs and includes three collaborative workshops: the Data Start internship program, which will provide graduate students from the South BD Hub the opportunity to work with data-related startups, and PEPI (Program to Empower Partnerships with Industry), which will support early career professionals in summer exchange visits with data-related industry partners. The South Hub will also sponsor three 50-person Industry-Academia Workshops to bring together early career faculty and industry partners to engage in project scoping around industry problems. Each workshop will focus on a different industry sector: Big Data in Health, Big Data in Energy, and Big Data in Materials and Manufacturing. The overarching goals of the workshops are three-fold: (1) support early career faculty in developing industry relationships for research collaboration and career success; (2) increase the exposure of early career faculty to industry and government problems; (3) foster a diverse Big Data pipeline from university research through to real-world impact. UNC will lead the initiative focused on graduate students and Georgia Tech will lead the initiatives and workshops focused on early career professionals.
In contrast to the previous two hubs, the Midwest BD Hub (also called SEEDCorn) will focus on broader range of activities ranging from workshops and short summer visits to data-related industry partners to travel grants to data-related venues and other short-term academia-industry community-building activities that benefit early career researchers in their big data research and teaching. Examples of proposed activities include (1) the Early Career Big Data Summit (ECBDS), an inter-disciplinary workshop titled “Data Quality and Informal Data-An Oxymoron?” and is intended to engage industry and early career researchers on radical changes in the way data are collected, managed and shared, and challenge traditional frameworks for establishing data quality, and (2) travel grants to approximately 30 early career researchers to the SEEDCorn All-Hands Meeting.
Finally, the West BD Hub will lead three efforts that aim to inspire partnerships across sectors and to increase public engagement with data science. The upcoming West BD Hub All Hands Meeting will feature a “Collaboratory Faire” highlighting open source tools and teams that have leveraged open data or open platforms. Insights from the Collaboratory Faire will be used to launch a Working Group on Cross-Sector Collaboration to discuss metrics of success, case studies, and best practices for data science innovation at the intersection of academia and industry. Additionally, the West BD Hub will be hosting two hands-on workshops with travel grants to early career researchers: “Leveraging the Data Science Hackathon: Best Practices and Lessons Learned” and “Tools of the Data Journalism Trade: Crafting a Compelling Data Science Narrative” to help teams foster new partnerships and increase public engagement around themes such as Precision Medicine, Natural Hazards, and Metro Data Science.
If you want to learn more about the Big Data Hubs or are interested in participating in one of their programs visit here.