Our Mission

MIDAS strengthens University of Michigan’s preeminence in data science and artificial intelligence, and enables their transformative use in a wide range of research disciplines to achieve lasting societal impact.

Currently, MIDAS focuses on five areas (“pillars”):

  1. Responsible Research: Enhancing the scientific and societal impact of data science and AI through responsible research
  2. Data: Enabling the use of novel data types to measure and understand society.
  3. Analytics: Transforming health interventions through the adoption of cutting-edge analytics
  4. AI: Catalyzing creative and transformative applications of AI in science and engineering domains
  5. Emerging Initiatives: Boosting emerging research priorities

MIDAS supports the five pillars through research activities, training programs, community building and partnership development.

Our Community and Programs

MIDAS supports research through a number of approaches:

  • We develop guidance and resources, together with our faculty, for reproducible, responsible and ethical data science and AI. 
  • We lead strategic research thrust areas, such as the NSF funded Center for Data-Driven Drug Development and Treatment Assessment;
  • We develop and manage research resources to enhance the U-M research capacity, including pilot funding, dataset access and industry collaborations.
  • We convene faculty across disciplines to develop groundbreaking research ideas; help faculty secure major grants, especially collaborative grants; and support faculty’s education and outreach efforts that are integral parts of their grants.
  • We organize a large number of research events, including themed research colloquia and the annual data science and AI Summit.

MIDAS training activities focus on enabling researchers to use novel data types and cutting-edge analytics to tackle significant research challenges.

  • We provide workshops and bootcamps to introduce data science and AI methods to biomedical researchers, social scientists, environmental scientists, and others. The focus is to train faculty and staff researchers.
  • Our Michigan Data Science Fellows program forms the core of a data science and AI postdoc community on campus. 
  • We also run a Graduate Data Science Certificate Program.

More than 460 MIDAS affiliate faculty members come from all schools and colleges at U-M Ann Arbor campus, and from U-M Dearborn and Flint campuses. This makes MIDAS one of the largest, and one of the most scientifically diverse, data science institutes at a US university. The faculty collaborate extensively, with expertise encompassing theoretical foundations and a wide range of data science and AI methodology, and its applications in almost all research areas at U-M. Our community also includes staff scientists and >1000 graduate and undergraduate students in Data Science and related degree programs, and in student-run data science and AI clubs.  

MIDAS promotes a diverse and inclusive data science and AI community by giving spotlights to women and underrepresented minorities as committee members and event speakers, and organizing training and social events specifically for these underrepresented groups. These events include the Women+ Data Science career and research series, and summer academies for underserved high school and undergraduate students. 

MIDAS works with a large number of industry, academia, government and non-profit organizations to ensure that data science and AI research is enabled by real-world data and inspired by real-world challenges, and that research outcomes are translated into products, services and policies for positive social change. Our External Partnership program offers opportunities for joint research and talent recruitment for industry and public sector organizations. Our Data for Social Good program uses cutting-edge research to support data-informed decision making for our partners, including the City of Detroit, the Native American tribal nations in Michigan, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. MIDAS is a member of the NSF Midwest Big Data Hub and provides leadership in several focus areas. We also work closely with academic data science organizations to foster a broader and collaborative research community and to maximize synergistic impact. We organize the annual Future Leaders Summit, the first event of its kind in the country, that convenes outstanding students and postdocs from around the country to promote responsible data science and AI and foster the next generation of research leaders.