Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) has been awarded a $1.5 million grant to establish an applied data science center that will promote collaboration between computer scientists and domain scientists to enhance interdisciplinary research and expand data science education.

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to promote and accelerate data-intensive discovery and education,” said Dr. Debzani Deb, associate professor of computer science at WSSU and principal investigator (PI) for the grant. “Our goal is to build a strong community and ecosystem for data science capable of achieving transformative changes at WSSU and creating a sustainable and adaptable model for enhancing inclusion and diversity in data science research and education that will make a long-term impact at the state and national level.”

The Center for Applied Data Science (CADS) is funded through the University of North Carolina’s Research Opportunities Initiative (UNC ROI) that is provided by the North Carolina General Assembly. This initiative supports collaborative, forward-thinking research projects from UNC System institutions with the mission to enhance their national or global profile and offer a competitive advantage in pursuit of large-scale research funding. 

“We’re grateful to state lawmakers for their strong support of UNC ROI’s important work,” said Dr. Kimberly Van Noort, UNC System senior vice president for academic affairs, in an article released by the UNC System. “The research produced by our institutions continues to positively impact the lives of all North Carolinians through advancements in research areas such as engineering, energy and data science. We congratulate each of the winners and thank all applicants for their strong submissions.” 

CADS will support five WSSU faculty fellows and their research initiatives as well as one post-doctoral researcher, five graduate students, and seven undergraduate student researchers.  

The CADS Faculty Fellows are: 

  • Steve Aragon, associate professor, Department of Healthcare Management
    Research Topic: The Latent Structure of Provider Patient-Centeredness and its Effects on Patients’ Experience-of-care
  • Muztaba Fuad, professor, Department of Computer Science 
    Research Topic: Reducing Redundancy and Improving Privacy of Mobile Crowdsensing Data
  • Jill Keith, professor of biochemistry, Department of Biological Sciences 
    Research Topic: Using Data Science to Make Therapeutic Predictions
  • Tennille D. Presley, associate professor of physic, Department of Chemistry
    Research Topic: Using Data Science Methods to Elucidate Music’s Biophysical Influence on the body
  • Russell Smith, professor of geography, Department of History, Politics and Social Justice 
    Research Topic: Spatial Justice Index for North Carolina Communities

The center will participate in various activities including curriculum infusion and enhancement, workshops and trainings, innovation and incubation, career development in data science, seminar series and annual symposiums, and K-12 and community outreach. Stakeholders from academia, industry, government, private, and non-profit sectors are invited to become involved in various ways to help identify factors that impede or enable inclusion and diversity in data science research and education. 

Visit the Center for Applied Date Science website for more information about the mission, vision and goals of the center.