NSF Midwest Big Data Hub supports Big Data science and partnerships in Agriculture and Plant Sciences

Midwest Big Data Hub
Midwest Big Data Hub

In March 2016 the Division of Computer and Information Systems and Engineering (CISE) of the National Science Foundation established four national Big Data Hubs as part of its investment in the 2015 NSF Big Data Research and Development Initiative.

The Hubs and related investments are intended to accelerate and strengthen the data ecosystem, and to develop effective cross-sector networks ready to utilize data science to solve problems of regional and societal interest. Each regional Hub – Midwest, Northeast, South, and West – will initiate research and partnerships in specific areas, ranging from precision agriculture to smart cities to personalized education.

The Midwest Big Data Hub (MBDH) – led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan, Iowa State University, Indiana University, and the University of North Dakota – in partnership with members from the 12 Midwest states has identified Digital Agriculture as a primary focal area.

“The MBDH is a growing organization of public and private partners investing in scientific discovery and improved data-to-decision systems,” said Melissa Cragin, Executive Director of the MBDH. “I look forward to working with regional and national partners in developing new collaborations that support training, education and workforce development, and facilitate access to data infrastructure, tools and services for constituents in Digital Agriculture across the region,” she added.

The NSF recently awarded a Midwest “Big Data Spoke” project award to investigators from the University of North Dakota, Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Kansas State University to initiate activities and outreach in specific areas relevant to Digital Agriculture, namely, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and plant phenomics and genomics. This grant aims to foster collaborative relationships among various agricultural and Big Data constituencies through workshops, on-line training opportunities and web resources, seed grants, and partnerships with regional and national organizations. Examples of events in which the MBDH Digital Agriculture spoke has played a role include the inaugural meeting of the North American Plant Phenotyping Network at Purdue University in August 2016, the USDA NIFA Big Data Summit in October 2016, and the ASPB Phenome 2017 meeting.

"The BD Spokes advance the goals and regional priorities of each BD Hub, fusing the strengths of a range of institutions and investigators and applying them to problems that affect the communities and populations within their regions," said Jim Kurose, assistant director of NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. "We are pleased to be making this substantial investment today to accelerate the nation's big data R&D innovation ecosystem."

To learn more and become a partner, visit: http://midwestbigdatahub.org/