Letter from the Director
As we close out 2022, I want to take the opportunity to highlight the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) achievements of the past year and the ways we’ve continued to bring Data Science and AI to the fore in the University of Michigan’s mission to use research for positive societal impact. 2022 has necessitated flexibility as we navigate the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, both within U-M and without, but I am grateful to the MIDAS team, our affiliate faculty, and all of our partners for their resilience and innovation.
Our nearly 500 affiliated faculty across all U-M’s schools and colleges and its three campuses grows in size year after year as a result of our effort to foster an inclusive, collaborative community to catalyze research in every discipline. I’m proud that we have been able to support their research in many ways: since our inception, MIDAS has provided approximately $12M in funding for 63 pilot research projects, and these research teams subsequently secured approximately $130M of external funding and produced very exciting research outcomes. I encourage you to read about MIDAS faculty affiliates’ many research successes.
Some of MIDAS’ most noteworthy accomplishments in 2022:
Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Announced in October, MIDAS will recruit and train 10 new postdoctoral fellows annually over the next six years, supported by more than $10 million in funding from Schmidt Futures. This new program is designed to effectively incorporate AI techniques into the natural sciences, engineering and mathematical sciences, training the sharpest minds on the frontlines of scientific innovation so that together we can accelerate the speed of research and innovation.
Our inaugural cohort will join MIDAS soon after the new year, and we are currently in the applications stage for our 2023 cohort.
The Center for Data-Driven Drug Development and Treatment Assessment
With funding from the National Science Foundation’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers, MIDAS will house the Center for Data-Driven Drug Development and Treatment Assessment (DATA). DATA will fulfill the need for improved health monitoring by leveraging the data science and domain knowledge expertise of MIDAS and its affiliated faculty together with a wide array of industry collaborators. In particular, DATA will produce new methodologies and infrastructure to address areas of unmet/underserved research needs within the (bio)pharmaceutical sector, with the goal of significantly accelerating the pace of drug discovery while reducing research costs.
Intensifying research support within five interconnected pillars
Since 2022, MIDAS has focused resources on a few research pillars to provide intensified support that will boost U-M’s research strength. Our pillars showcase that data science and AI methodologies can both transform traditional research disciplines and develop new strengths. Our current pillars focus on responsible data science and AI, using new data types to understand human behavior and society; cutting-edge data analytics for healthcare intervention; AI in science and engineering; and emerging research areas to address national priorities.
I’d like to extend my gratitude and holiday greetings to the MIDAS affiliated faculty, U-M data science and AI researchers and students, and our 50+ community partnerships across higher education, government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Thanks to your enduring effort, together, we continue to grow and drive forward the mission of using data science and AI research for scientific breakthroughs and positive social impact and change.
Looking forward to 2023,