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Stimulating data science innovation for research

Data-Driven Discovery

We empower data scientists in academic research.

Today’s scientific instruments, sensors and computer simulations are producing complex data at exponential rates, creating a virtual data deluge. Although these data represent an unprecedented resource, their size and complexity are overwhelming. What’s more, scientists are limited by current practices to extract useful information.

Effectively harnessing these large and complex scientific datasets requires fundamentally different techniques, better tools, and a new data-driven practice. These techniques are being developed by an emerging, interdisciplinary type of research called data science.  

Data scientists combine scientific expertise, computational knowledge and statistical skills to build critical tools and make new discoveries. The research community recognizes the need for these skills, but the lack of academic incentives has created a critical shortage of practitioners. Science may be data-rich, but will remain discovery-poor without the institutional commitment, people-power and technology needed to mine data and reveal hidden breakthroughs.  

To help catalyze these breakthroughs, we are supporting the people who innovate around data-driven discovery with three strategies:

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Courtesy of NASA- Pat Izzo


Natalie Caulk, Program Associate

Natalie is the Program Associate for the Data-Driven Discovery Initiative in the Science Program. Previously, Natalie was a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant at the University of Brit…

Chris Mentzel, Program Director, Data-Driven Discovery Initiative

Chris leads the foundation’s Data-Driven Discovery Initiative, a $60 million effort within the Science Program to enable data scientists to turn the scientific data deluge into opportunities to …

Carly Strasser, Ph.D., Program Officer, Data-Driven Discovery Initiative

Carly is a program officer for the Data-Driven Discovery Initiative, an effort within the foundation’s Science Program to promote the researchers and practices required for impactful data-driven…