The Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3) is a campus-wide multidisciplinary initiative designed to provide overarching coordination of informatics activities across the institution, which span from health care to digital arts and humanities. The Initiative aims to expand research capabilities, strengthen educational and training opportunities in informatics-related areas, and provide a single point of contact for external constituents with interests in informatics.

A key element of the Initiative is the creation of a new “cluster” of informatics faculty under the UI Cluster Hire Initiative. To date, 14 new informatics cluster faculty have been hired from 4 colleges and 10 departments. Searches are underway for 10 additional informatics faculty.

The Initiative also bolsters informatics-related educational opportunities across campus and is home to the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGPI). The IGPI offers Certificate, Master of Science, and Ph.D. degrees in four subprograms: bioinformatics, geoinformatics, health informatics and information science.

Affiliate members of UI3 currently exceed 180 and come from all colleges, representing 68 different departments and units. The informatics interests of the affiliates span a wide spectrum of areas, from health informatics to digital humanities. Support services are extensive and are organized around facilitation, data services, analysis and visualization, and research application functions. 

Informatics is deeply interwoven within the fabric of 21st century society, affecting our social interactions and communications, work and business processes, creative expression and recreation, and research and discovery.  In addition to being a key intellectual topic in its own right, informatics is a broad enabler of research, education, and engagement, impacting almost every area of the University of Iowa. An Informatics Task Force was created in the spring of 2013 with the goal of developing a comprehensive action plan that strengthens informatics education, training, research and collaborative support at the University of Iowa. The Task Force found existing strengths in informatics-related education and research in a number of areas distributed across campus. In addition, institutional strengths in the underlying infrastructure necessary to support informatics teaching and research were identified, including a state-of-the-art data center and recent investments in the Helium/Neon computer systems. Given the universality of informatics needs, no single college or segment of the institution alone can create the breadth and depth of core and applied informatics that addresses all of the diverse needs; thus renewed efforts to coordinate informatics and new investments were recommended and the University of Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3) was born in response.

Gregory Carmichael (Professor, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering) was named the Director of UI3, Ben Rogers (Sr. Director, ITS) was named the Associate Director for UI3 Services and Juan Pablo Hourcade (Professor, Computer Science) was named the Associate Director for Academic Curriculum Development. The UI3 consists of a Steering Committee, Curriculum Sub-committee and a Support Services Sub-committee.