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University of Minnesota establishes Informatics Institute to enhance research competitiveness

January 6, 2014

In order to play a leadership role in shaping informatics and advancing data analytics to enhance its research competitiveness and capacity, the University of Minnesota today announced that it has established the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute (UMII).

As an institute reporting to the Office of the Vice President for Research, the UMII will build on existing infrastructure to design a comprehensive informatics research and education environment to support ongoing research and facilitate new and breakthrough discoveries across disciplines, and accelerate solutions that have a profound impact on society.

The UMII will partner with Minnesota industry to harness the power of big data for economic growth; meet the educational needs of students to become part of the information economy workforce or to upgrade their skills while already in the workforce; satisfy the research and educational needs of faculty and staff; and engage the University community and the public in meaningful discussions about the implications of big data on society.

"Establishing the Informatics Institute is a much needed step forward by the University," said Dr. Brian Herman, Vice President for Research at the university. "This institute, and the information gathered through it, will help foster transdisciplinary research and partnerships within the University and with our university partners to advance research across disciplines and find new and impactful solutions for our society.  I’m excited by the potential this institute brings to our community and core research areas."

The UMII will establish targeted programs and work with existing University resources in centers, institutes and departments throughout the university system to enhance the competitiveness of research in core informatics and domain areas such as mathematical, statistical and computational sciences; computational biology; translational and clinical research informatics; health informatics; environmental sciences; and the social sciences and humanities.  Additionally, the UMII will support and specifically address research done through the MnDRIVE areas of research.  The Institute will be led by Dr. Claudia Neuhauser, who recently served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Development at the University of Minnesota Rochester.

"Our use of informatics throughout the university is a new approach," said Dr. Neuhauser. "Stronger informatics capabilities will allow us to better serve our community and advance our research, especially as we begin to implement initiatives in our four MnDRIVE areas. Until now, our work, our research and our collaboration have produced data that have led to great discoveries and insight. However, the existing infrastructure by which we move, visualize, share and analyze data is no longer sufficient. The university must play a leadership role in envisioning and realizing the digital future, and enable us to enhance the university’s competitiveness across disciplines, both in domain and core research areas."

To learn more about the institute, please visit: http://sites.google.com/a/umn.edu/informatics-institute/home.

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