Campus Invests in Data Science, Immigration Research

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The University of California, Davis, is investing $4 million over three years to launch four new research centers that align campus strengths with unique opportunities for global impact. Two of the four centers are led by faculty in the College of Letters and Science.

Data Science Center

The new data science center will address global challenges including feeding the growing world population, mitigating climate change, and providing effective, affordable healthcare for everyone.

“UC Davis is uniquely positioned to help solve these challenges with tools from data science,” said Thomas Strohmer, professor of mathematics and director of the new center. “You need to bring experts together from different areas to take on the grand challenges of society.”

Data science cuts across discipline boundaries, and the UC Davis Data Science Center will facilitate interdisciplinary research in areas where UC Davis has particular strengths, including astrophysics, healthcare, agricultural and environmental science, veterinary medicine, and engineering. “We want to take on the most important problems in data science,” said Strohmer.

The center will foster collaborations though focused workshops, seminars and innovation labs as well as by serving as a point of contact for industry partners and government agencies. Opportunities for students will include undergraduate and graduate programs in data science, 

People on boat

Global Migration Center

With more than 250 million immigrants around the world, governments and the public hotly debate how to respond — often pursuing solutions that are not based on scientific evidence. A new research center at UC Davis aims to help fill that knowledge gap.

The Center for the Study of 21st Century Global Migration brings together dozens of immigration experts across the campus to study the causes and consequences of international migration, immigrant integration, and immigration law and policy.

“Global migration is one of the most important and pervasive societal issues of the 21st century. Yet, there is limited knowledge of the phenomenon in a holistic and global frame. This undermines our understanding of the phenomenon and the creation of sensible migration policies and effective interventions.” said Giovanni Peri, a professor of economics and director of the new center. 

Peri said the combined expertise will make the center unique in the nation, with scholarship that gives voice to immigrants’ stories while deepening the understanding of historical, political, legal, social, economic and public health causes and consequences of global population movements.

In addition to fostering multidisciplinary research, the center plans to produce policy briefs, host symposia, seminars and lectures, sponsor cultural and artistic events related to migration, develop new undergraduate summer courses, and offer an in-residence program for policymakers, journalists, immigrant community leaders and other nonacademic experts. 

Responding to global challenges

The UC Davis Office of Research initiative is designed to promote new, sustainable, inter- and multidisciplinary research activity that responds to society’s greatest challenges and needs. Through the IMPACT (Inter & Multidisciplinary Program to Accelerate Convergence & Translation) research centers, UC Davis will enhance its intellectual strengths in multidisciplinary areas and the collaborative research culture to establish itself as a leader in these emerging areas. 

“Multi- and interdisciplinary research enables breakthroughs in resolving some of the world’s most intractable problems and opens up entirely new and exciting research fields,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis. “By building on synergies between individuals and organizations, the IMPACT Program will harness the power of complementary knowledge and capabilities to accelerate and amplify impact from research.”

Four centers were selected from a pool of 64 applicants following a peer review process by a panel of experts consisting of faculty from UC Davis and other institutions. The panel evaluated projects using multiple criteria, including scientific merit, plans for self-sustainability and potential for impact.

For additional information on the four IMPACT centers, visit UC Davis News.

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