This spring, the University of Iowa Office of the Provost transitioned all seven faculty cluster areas to independence after nearly 10 years of direct oversight. As of June 30, 2019, the cluster areas no longer report directly to the Office of the Provost.
What does this mean for the Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3)?
The informatics cluster is a key element of the Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3). Through the informatics cluster we were able to recruit 24 new data science faculty to campus. UI3 was established in 2014 as a campus-wide effort to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations, scholarship opportunities and data-intensive discovery in all domains. UI3 helps research faculty, students and staff hone the advanced data and computational skills needed to remain globally-competitive, and regionally-responsive; an Iowa vision that will never change. All research is becoming increasingly data intensive and this is accelerating with the increased usage of new methods such as those in the realm of artificial intelligence. Office of the Provost funds that support UI3 are committed through December 2019. What happens after that time period is uncertain. What is clear is that the trends, challenges and demands that originally motivated the creation of UI3 remain an institutional priority. Discussions are ongoing about the next chapter of institutional efforts to support data-intensive research and teaching, and how to align these demands with broader institutional priorities, strategy and objectives for the future.
Will the IGPI program end?
No. Administration of the IGPI program, and some financial support, will be transferred back to the Graduate College. IGPI commitments will be honored; students will continue to benefit from the stellar support they currently receive, and access to the collaborative spaces in the College of Public Health building (CPHB) will continue until alternative space is identified.
What’s the plan for the UI3 space in the CPHB?
College of Public Health distributed teams will leave West Lawn and University Capital Centre for space currently occupied by UI3 on the fifth floor of the CPHB. Displaced UI3 personnel will relocate to a suitable alternate facility. Transition dates and logistics information will be shared here once they are known.
Are UI3 staff affected by this change?
Yes. UI3 administrative support will not be funded after December 2019; this affects two positions.
Will there be support for the Informatics Showcase, Symposiums or Hackathons?
After December 31, 2019 there is no longer UI3 financial support for these important initiatives. That said, we expect discussions about the next phase of campus initiatives in data-intensive computing to include this component.
Will there still be workshops focused in areas such as Python, R and HPC?
Yes. These will continue to be a priority under the new support model.
What will happen to Cluster Faculty storage allocations?
The storage service is managed by ITS-Research Services and will continue to exist. UI3 Cluster Faculty will not be charged for their allocations through December 31, 2020. After December 31, 2020, Faculty will be charged a standard annual rate. Note: Beginning July 1, 2019, ITS-Research Services will offer the first 5TB for free on either the Research Data Storage Service or Large-Scale Storage Service.
What will happen to the Informatics queues on the Argon HPC system?
The queues will remain in place until current equipment is obsolete. Incumbent cluster faculty and IGPI leadership may delegate access to these resources until the hardware is decommissioned.
What will happen to the visualization wall in the Informatics Initiative space?
Viz wall ownership will be transferred to the College of Public Health when the Informatics Initiative leaves the building.
Will the GitHub service continue?
OneIT will take ownership of the Git Academic service initially supported by UI3. The UI Enterprise GitHub (https://github.uiowa.edu) license expires June 27, 2019 and will not be extended. Accounts have been migrated to the GitLab service (https://research-git.uiowa.edu). For more information, visit the ITS-RS Wiki.
Does this change impact the launch of the Interactive Data Analytics Service (IDAS)?
No. The UI3 funding component of the IDAS has been preserved and we expect to launch in August, 2019, as originally planned.
May I continue to reserve space in the UI3 space in the CPHB?
Yes. Please continue to reserve space via Outlook. Requests for space directed to Andrea Flaherty or UI3-Informatics@uiowa.edu will not be accepted after August 1, 2019. At this time, we expect the College of Public Health will still provide access to some collaboration spaces on the fifth floor of the College of Public Health building, but the mechanism for reserving this space will be determined after UI3 vacates.
What’s the future hold for data-intensive research at the University of Iowa?
Iowa is committed to meeting existing and emerging demands of its data-intensive communities of practice. Iterations of UI3 programs—strengthened by the UI3 experience — will likely continue once campus leadership has time to evaluate these needs and how they align with broader institutional priorities, strategy and objectives for the future. Please watch this website where we will post updates and invite you to participate in writing the next chapter.
Additional queries and insights? Please share them here.
Feedback will be shared with decision-makers, and answers to the most common questions—as soon as they’re known—will be added to this FAQ.