Columbia, NYC Launch New Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering
Bring on the data deluge.
- Watch a video of the press conference
- Read story Professors McKeown and Culligan to Lead New Data Sciences Institute
Read press release
Columbia University, in a partnership with New York City, has launched the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering to fill the explosive need for the acquisition and analysis of “big data.”
At a press conference July 30 held at Columbia’s Northwest Corner Building, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg detailed the new partnership alongside Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia Engineering Interim Dean Donald Goldfarb, Engineering Professor and Institute Director Kathleen R. McKeown, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and other prominent city and elected officials.
This is the latest step in the City’s Applied Sciences NYC Initiative, announced in 2010, which aims to increase New York’s capacity for applied sciences and spur commercialization and economic growth. The Columbia partnership, said Mayor Bloomberg, is expected to generate nearly $4 billion in overall economic impact and create more than 4,500 jobs over the next three decades. Engineering Professors Kathleen R. McKeown and Patricia J. Culligan will serve as the Institute’s inaugural director and associate director, respectively. [See related story on the leadership appointments.]
As part of the deal, the City will provide Columbia with $15 million in financial assistance to help develop the Institute, and the University will contribute $80 million in private investments. The agreement also includes the creation of 44,000 square feet of new space on Columbia’s campus by 2016 and the addition of 75 new faculty—engineering and other disciplines—over the next decade and a half.
“This is probably the most exciting moment that I can think of in the school’s 150-year history and the future has never looked brighter,” said Dean Goldfarb. “Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement and the City’s support for the Data Sciences Institute means that the only constraint that prevents Columbia Engineering from being in the very, very top echelon of engineering schools in overall rankings—that is our small size relative to our peers—will essentially be overcome.”
President Bollinger also stressed this point in his remarks at the press conference and credited the Engineering faculty for its pioneering research, which shaped the core of the University’s proposal for the new Institute.
“Their acknowledged excellence have lifted the school to near the top tier over the past decade—an ascent that has been limited only by the amount of space available to do their work and a much smaller scale than our leading peers,” said Bollinger. “Today the mayor and his EDC team are making it possible for us to take rapid new steps beyond the past in terms of new and improved research space and expanding the number of our faculty and students.”
Columbia’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering will focus on five key sectors: smart cities, new media, health analytics, financial analytics, and cybersecurity. The proposal for the Institute called for a rich, interdisciplinary approach with Engineering faculty working closely—as many already do—with departments in the Arts and Sciences, Columbia University Medical Center, and the University’s professional schools.
“There’s every reason to believe that the Institute will produce a flood of innovations in these areas, and we expect the return on the City’s investment on the Institute to be substantial,” said Mayor Bloomberg who called the agreement an “historic partnership” and said it is “by far, the largest and most far-reaching economic development effort City government has undertaken in modern memory.”