North Carolina Data Science & Analytics Initiative (NCDSA)

The North Carolina Data Science & Analytics Initiative (NCDSA) is one of the six projects funded out of the UNC Research Opportunities Initiative (ROI). The ROI provides targeted funding for innovative and potentially game-changing research projects. Funded by a recurring $3-million annual appropriation from the 2014 General Assembly, the ROI represents North Carolina’s first financial investment in the UNC system’s five-year strategic plan. The ROI accepts proposals from any institution in the 17-campus UNC system. Proposals are reviewed externally through a process refereed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and are judged according to the following criteria:

  • Intellectual merit (originality, importance of the project to the field)
  • “Game-changing” nature of the proposed project (short and long term impact for North Carolina, commercialization potential)
  • Project fit and feasibility (consistency with UNC strategic plan, nature of the sustainability plan)

NCDSA is a collaborative research effort between the University of North Carolina at Charlotte – Data Science Initiative (DSI), NC State University’s Data Science Initiative (DSI), and the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) in Chapel Hill.  Current NCDSA efforts have focused both on Infrastructure and Research.  Current research projects are:

Risk Mitigation of Infectious Diseases via Network Modeling and Mining

Dr. Blair Sullivan, Computer Science: Co-PI (with D. Janies and X.Shi, UNC-C)

Share, Care, Beware: Trusted Sharing for Data Science

Dr. Tim Menzies, Computer Science: Co-PI (with Dr. Bojan Cukic, UNC-C)

RADE: A Risk Analytics Discovery Environment

Dr. Casey Dietrich, Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (with W. Christopher Lenhardt, RENCI)

NSF Big Data Hub

NSF program announced four awards totaling more than $5 million to establish regional hubs for data science innovation. The consortia are coordinated by top data scientists at Columbia University (Northeast Hub); Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina (South Hub); the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Midwest Hub); and the University of California, San Diego, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington (West Hub).

Specific information for each data hub can be found at:





Along with the BD Hubs awards, the NSF posted a solicitation for the next phase of the BD Hubs program involving “spoke” interactions with the BD Hubs. ( ). The agency will award approximately $10 million in grants as part of the Big Data Spokes program (BD Spokes) to help initiate research in specific priority areas identified by the BD Hubs. Each BD Spoke will focus on a specific BD Hub priority area and address one or more of three key issues: improving access to data; automating the data lifecycle; and applying data science techniques to solve a domain science problem and/or demonstrate societal impact.