“Harvard has pulled together an impressive group of people poised to make substantial progress in this fast-moving, dynamic field.”
With vast amounts of data being generated every day, data science—which focuses on statistical and computational methods to extract powerful insights from data—has become increasingly important in fields ranging from public health and biological sciences to economics and astronomy. A new gift from Bob and Luisa Fernholz, in support of the Harvard Data Science Initiative, promises to spark new interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and boost methodological and computing expertise in the field.
The Fernholz Innovation Fund for Data Science, established through a generous gift of $1 million, will help create a data science hub at the Harvard Chan School and provide flexible resources to address emerging research needs and opportunities as they arise, says Data Science Initiative Co-Director Francesca Dominici, the Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population, and Data Science at the Harvard Chan School. “There is so much talent around the University in data science, and this transformational gift will enable us to build connections among faculty that otherwise would not have been possible,” she says.
The Fernholz Fund will also support data science doctoral fellows, who will become “the glue of faculty collaboration,” Dominici says, as well as interdisciplinary data science symposia and workshops.
The Fernholzes, both former statistics professors, have been greatly impressed with Harvard’s Data Science Initiative, which so far involves about 100 professors from all corners of the University. “When huge amounts of data are emerging from so many disciplines, we need this concerted effort to understand the data and have this group of people who can give the answers that we want from these numbers,” says Luisa Fernholz. Bob Fernholz adds, “Harvard has pulled together an impressive group of people poised to make substantial progress in this fast-moving, dynamic field.”
—Karen Feldscher is a senior writer and project manager in the Harvard Chan School office of communications.
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