The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) is the focal point for the new multidisciplinary area of data science at the University of Michigan. This area covers a wide spectrum of scientific pursuits (development of concepts, methods, and technology) for data collection, management, analysis, and interpretation as well as their innovative use to address important problems in science, engineering, business, and other areas.

Data science is now widely accepted as the fourth mode of scientific discovery, on par with theory, physical experimentation and computational analysis. Techniques based on Big Data are showing promise not only in scientific research, but also in education, health, policy, and business.

Active research in Data Science at U-M ranges from data management, data curation and data-sharing incentives to statistics, machine learning, and data visualization, addressing problems in astronomy, evolutionary biology, disease model discovery, health policy, materials synthesis, personalized medicine, social sciences, and teaching and learning. Since 2010, the university has been running an annual symposium that has drawn participants from over 30 departments across the university.

The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) was created in July 2015 as part of the University of Michigan Data Science Initiative.

MIDAS will be comprised of an interdisciplinary core faculty of 40 data scientists (from statistics, biostatistics and mathematics, computer science and engineering, information science, and a range of data science intensive application experts). MIDAS also includes a Data Science Challenge Initiatives Program (Learning Analytics, Transportation, Social Sciences, Personalized Medicine & Health); a Data Science Education and Training Program; as well as an Industry Engagement Program.

MIDAS builds on the university’s strengths in data science to benefit the campus, state and nation by advancing cross-cutting data science methodologies and developing new educational programs that leverage world-class Data Science Services and Infrastructure.

MIDAS is part of the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) Office in the University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR). Support for MIDAS and the broader Data Science Initiative is provided through the Office of the Provost, Office of Research, College of Engineering, Medical School, College of Literature, Sciences & the Arts, School of Information, School of Public Health, University Libraries, and Industry.


September 2012

  • Professors HV Jagadish and Vijay Nair hold organizational meetings on data science with university faculty

February 2014

  • Data science presentations and initial proposal made to university leadership

November 2014

  • Proposal for University of Michigan Data Science Initiative submitted to Provost by Brian Athey and H.V. Jagadish on behalf of a University of Michigan-wide committee

July 2015

  • Michigan Institute for Data Science is created. Brian Athey and Al Hero are appointed MIDAS co-Directors.  HV Jagadish and Vijay Nair are appointed Distinguished Scientists in MIDAS, and are also recognized as Co-Founders with Profs. Hero and Athey. Eric Michielssen, U-M Associate Vice President for Advanced Research Computing (ARC), was also instrumental in the creation of MIDAS.

Affiliated Faculty

More than 200 faculty members from more than 50 departments are affiliated with MIDAS.

Affiliated faculty are listed on the MIDAS website, and receive priority notifications of upcoming projects, funding solicitations, and collaboration opportunities.

To become affiliated with MIDAS, please fill out this form.

network illustration

Image courtesy of Prof. Jason Owen-Smith, Organizational Studies.

Challenge Initiatives

Approximately $10M of funding has been awarded to proposals in the Challenge Initiatives based on a competitive process involving submission of a white paper, followed by invitation to submit a full proposal. A total of 9 proposals were be funded. The successful projects involve a multi-disciplinary team engaged in research that will both have disruptive impact on a relevant thrust application and significantly advance the methodological foundations of data science. The ultimate intent of the MIDAS challenge initiatives is to stimulate research activities that can be leveraged into successful external funding proposals from government, private foundations, or industry.

For details, visit the MIDAS Research page.