Greg Carmichael
Heraclitus’ wise point was sharpened by Benjamin Franklin who said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” And so, 2019 became a year of transition for the Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3), the people who drive it and the constellation of amazing programs and services it sponsors. 

 

UI3 wheels of change were put into motion by Interim Provost Sue Curry in Q2 when she announced that seven faculty clusters would “transition to independence” after ten years of direct oversight and financial support by the Iowa Office of the Provost. This funding had supported the UI3 Cluster Faculty Program, UI3 Affiliates Program, UI3 training and Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics (IGPI) administration. Consequently, the current incarnation of UI3 Cluster Faculty, Affiliates and training programs will end December 31, 2019, but the IGPI program will continue under Graduate College oversight.

About the same time, it was decided that distributed College of Public Health (CPH) teams currently housed in the Westlawn building—scheduled to be razed in 2020—and University Capitol Centre (UCC), would join their sister programs in the CPH building at 145 North Riverside Drive. They will occupy the fifth-floor suite that is currently home to UI3 training staff, their conference and classrooms, IGPI administration and cluster faculty offices. IGPI students will soon find a new home in the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratory (IATL). UI3 staff with offices in the CPH building moved to UCC 2500 in November.

UI3 was founded as a campus-wide effort to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations, scholarship opportunities and data-intensive discovery. The trends, challenges and demands that originally motivated its creation remain an institutional priority. If anything, the process of discovery in every domain has become even more compute- and data-intensive; volume and workflow complexity accelerates as more fields employ machine learning, neural networks and other artificial intelligence (AI) methodologies.

Once they have a chance to acquaint themselves with the landscape, Provost Montserrat Fuentes and Vice President for Research J. Martin Scholtz will take a keen interest in shaping UI3 progeny that will be strengthened by ancestral experience, and that align with fresh institutional priorities, strategies and objectives.

Thank you for your past collaborations, and continued support through this transition!

Sincerely,

 

 

Gregory R. Carmichael
Director, University of Iowa Informatics Initiative
Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

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A glance back; looking forward

A list of frequently-asked questions and answers was added to the UI3 website (navigational element titled, “Looking Forward”), with links to surveys that will collect fresh queries and insights. UI3 and ITS-Research Services leadership look forward to working with everyone as we shape Iowa’s informatics future together.

We’re proud of UI3 accomplishments; here are a few highlights:

  • UI3 recruited 24 highly-specialized data science faculty to campus with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, climate and environmental sciences, biostatistics, energy, hydroengineering, political science, genomics, biomedical engineering, epidemiology, chemistry, the “Internet of Things,” and more.
  • Feature articles about UI3 Cluster Faculty research and student-mentee accomplishments are chronicled on the informatics website.
  • Once UI3 ends, cluster faculty will remain in their home departments where they will continue to support Iowa’s institutional mission through their teaching, research and service.
  • UI3 has hosted several symposia since 2014. An artificial intelligence (AI) themed program in February and a  Computational Psychiatry symposium in May drew hundreds of participants from just about every department and unit on campus.
  • With ITS-RS Campus Engagement Team specialists, UI3 Cluster Faculty help researchers, students and staff hone the skills they need to remain globally-competitive, and regionally-responsive.
  • ITS-RS will continue to host advanced-skills training, but UI3 symposia can no longer be supported.
  • The UI3 Affiliates program includes more than 300 faculty, student and staff who foster interdisciplinary collaborations, cultivate new research opportunities and train future generations of data-savvy practitioners to transform information into knowledge and actions. UI3 will continue to accept affiliates applications in an effort to preserve this important community of practice for the future.