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NSF $3 Million Grant to IACS Will Fund PhD Student Training in Multiple Disciplines


NSF $3 Million Grant to IACS Will Fund PhD Student Training in Multiple Disciplines


Some the leading Stony Brook University faculty involved in the STRIDE program to help fund PhD students assembled at the IACS. From left, back row: Robert Harrison, IACS Director and STRIDE PI; Arie Kaufman, and Janet Nye. Front row, from left: Liliana Davalos, Heather Lynch, and Christine O’Connell.

Stony Brook, NY, September 27, 2016 – The Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS) received a five-year $3M National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant to support graduate students from the departments of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Biomedical Informatics, Computer Science, Ecology and Evolution, and the schools of Journalism and Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. The interdisciplinary grant is for Science Training & Research to Inform DEcisions (STRIDE). The award will prepare the next generation of scientists working with big data to support complex decision-making.

STRIDE is an innovative training program that will provide STEM graduate students with unique interdisciplinary skills to assist, create, and eventually lead the translation of complex data-enabled research into informed decisions and sound policies. These include skills traditionally taught to science students such as data analytics and visualization. The unique contribution of STRIDE is to also prepare scientists by building skills in decision support that are often not explicitly taught, such as understanding the perspectives of various stakeholders, science communication, and translating scientific uncertainty.

“Decision support and all of the skills it entails are essential for high impact science, and this need cuts across many disciplines,” said Robert Harrison, IACS Director and the Principal Investigator for the project. “Our team is really excited about how this project will transform both our university and especially the careers and leadership opportunities for our students.”

The training program encompasses spatial data, advanced visual data analytics, and high-performance and data-centric computing. Uniquely, the program also incorporates a domain discipline, science communication, including interpersonal skills and modern media (at the Alda Center for Communicating Science), as well as and decision-making. It also offers relevant internships at Department of Energy laboratories, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and IBM.

“We are thrilled to be part of this exciting collaboration and work with fellows to help them communicate complex data science to decision makers, especially on health and environmental issues where it is crucial that policy and management decisions be based on sound science,” said Alda Center Associate Director Christine O’Connell.

The interdisciplinary nature of STRIDE is reflected in the faculty involved. Co-PIs are: Liliana Davalos, Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolution; Arie Kaufman, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Computer Science; Heather Lynch, Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolution; Janet Nye, Assistant Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; Christine O’Connell, Associate Director, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and Assistant Professor, School of Journalism; Joel Saltz, Cherith Professor and Founding Chair, Biomedical Informatics; Erez Zadok, Professor, Computer Science; and Minghua Zhang, Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. 


About Stony Brook University 

Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 25,000 students and 2,500 faculty. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 100 universities in the nation and top 40 public universities, and Kiplinger names it one of the 35 best values in public colleges. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. A global ranking by U.S. News & World Report places Stony Brook in the top 1 percent of institutions worldwide.  It is one of only 10 universities nationwide recognized by the National Science Foundation for combining research with undergraduate education. As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4 percent of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.

Greg Filiano
Media Relations Manager, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University
Office: 631.444.9343


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