Interdisciplinary Approaches to Biomedical Data Science Challenges : SAMSI Innovations Lab: July 20-24, 2015


Myriad Data Types Slide_smallApplications are invited for an Innovations Lab on “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Biomedical Data Science Challenges” taking place from July 20 to 24, 2015 at the Hamner Conference Center at the NC Biotechnology Center, 15 TW Alexander Drive in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

The Innovations Lab process entails participation in an intensive five-day residential workshop, the development of multidisciplinary collaborative proposals through a real-time and iterative review process, and the opportunity to submit proposals for small, 1-year awards to further build the collaborations. The Innovations Lab is organized along similar lines to the NSF-organized Ideas Labs, which are modeled on the “IDEAs Factory” program developed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom. The concept of the IDEAs Factory program is to organize intensive interactive multidisciplinary workshops (“Sandpits”) involving around 30 participants, with the aim of developing new and bold approaches to address grand challenge questions for topics that could benefit from a new dimension in thinking. The participants are assisted by a team of professional facilitators and by a team of scientists with relevant expertise. These scientific experts, known as mentors, are not eligible for any funds that may be available for proposals, and therefore act as impartial referees of the process.

SAMSI is organizing an Innovations Lab on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Biomedical Data Science Challenges. The goal is to foster the formation of new interdisciplinary collaborations among mathematicians, statisticians and biomedical science researchers on developing models, methods and approaches for overcoming challenges in precision medicine, an important application area that is at the intersection of the biomedical and data sciences. A more-detailed description of the Lab can be found here. Some exemplar areas of interest are suggested here. Working under the oversight of several mentors, participants will form teams during the workshop to develop interdisciplinary projects. At the end of the workshop, they will have the opportunity to submit one-year proposals that may be considered for funding by the NSF.

This Innovations Lab will include program officers from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Application Procedure

Applications will be considered from researchers in mathematics, statistics, computer science, biology, clinical informatics and neuroscience, as well as other data-intensive areas such as finance and astronomy. A small committee will select approximately 30 applicants to take part in the Lab. Selected participants will have their travel and hotel expenses fully covered by SAMSI*. Applicants must be willing to commit to stay for the full week.

Selection Criteria

A selection committee has been set up, consisting of members of the Steering Committee and the Mentors Panel (see below), chaired by the Director of SAMSI. Thirty participants will be selected from an applicant pool that is expected to top 200. The objective is to select a group of participants who will be balanced across subject of expertise (primarily mathematics, statistics, computer science, biology and medicine), seniority (from relatively recent PhDs to senior researchers), geography and the inclusion of underrepresented groups. Within the above overall criteria, applicants will be selected based on

  • Qualifications of the applicant to conduct a project in this field of research;
  • Evidence of ability to work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary team;
  • If the applicant is in the early stage of an independent career, whether he/she has appropriate experience and training;
  • If the applicant is an established investigator, whether he/she has demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced his/her field(s);
  • The applicant’s working environment and quality of institutional support.

All applicants should by now have heard whether they have been accepted. Please get in touch if you have any queries about this.

Questions: contact Richard Smith – 919-685-9352.