Big Data Regional Hubs Industry-Academic Collaboration


As a result of the CCC / CRA Industry Academic Survey, conducted in spring of 2015 and the CCC Industry Roundtable Discussion held on July 24, 2015, the CCC is sponsoring a program on Industry-Academic Collaboration. The goal of this program is to catalyze and foster partnerships between industry and academic research by creating mechanisms for early career researchers in academia and industry representatives to interact and to explore ways to work together.  This program will enable shared learning and perspectives, access to problems and data, career training, and opportunities for long term partnerships.

To foster these partnerships, the CCC is implementing this program through the Big Data Regional Hubs. The BD Hubs will be charged with ensuring participation from diverse institutions and strengthening partnerships based on their specific regional needs. The CCC asked each Hub to create a plan that is aligned with their region’s needs and opportunities to foster partnerships, which will enhance the research of early career academic researchers, and which will benefit the Innovation Hub.  The plans focus on early career researchers, include metrics for success, and articulate how it will create long-term partnerships that persist beyond the initial activities. Featured activities include workshops, faculty internships, student internships, site visits, hackathons, and lecture series.

Below you can find more information about each of the individual hubs and their programming to foster industry-academic collaboration. You can also learn more about the CCC’s efforts to promote industry-academic collaborations in The Future of Computing Research: Industry-Academic Collaborations white paper.

Northeast BD Hub

The Northeast BD Hub is coordinated by Columbia University. The hub’s projects include:

  • The Young Innovator Internship – gives “Young Innovators” (MS students who have one year to graduation or PhD students who have two years or less until graduation) an opportunity to work on big data analytics with small companies, local government agencies, and NGOs.
  • The Knowledge Exchange – comprised of a lecture series similar to ACM or IEEE distinguished lecturer programs and a visiting scholar program that will support visits by a postdoc or faculty member to small companies, government agencies, or NGOs for 1 summer month and visits by industry, government or NGO researchers to academia.
  • The Data Science Best Practices Workshop – to review and establish a set of best practices for data sharing and related concerns. While the guide lines may include recommendations on how to enable necessary infrastructure the emphasis will be on designing process and legal frameworks to enable large scale data sharing rather than on developing or implementing infrastructure components.

Contact Information:

  • René Baston, Executive Director of the Northeast BD Hub, rb70 [at]
  • Katie Naum, Program Coordinator of the Northeast BD Hub, ken2115 [at]

South BD Hub

The South BD Hub is coordinated by Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina. The hub’s projects include:

  • Data Start – provides graduate students the opportunity to work with data-related startup companies on data-intensive business challenges important to the company. Applications are due May 1, 2016. Visit here to find out how to apply.
  • PEPI – will support early career professionals in summer exchange visits with data-related industry partners. Visit here to find out how to apply.

Contact Information:

Midwest BD Hub

The Midwest BD Hub (also called SEEDCorn) is coordinated by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The hub’s projects include:

  • The Early Career Big Data Summit – Hosted by the University of North Dakota April 6-8, 2016. The event seeks to provide a venue for early career big data researchers (graduate students, post docs, and pre-tenure faculty) to connect with Industry, third-sector volunteer groups, and established researchers. Events will include multiple industry panel discussions, researcher lightning talks, and a hands-on application hack-a-thon.
  • “Data Quality and Informal Data-An Oxymoron” Workshop – an inter-disciplinary workshop to engage industry and early career researchers to establish a research agenda on the following problem: Radical changes in the way data are collected, managed and shared challenge traditional frameworks for establishing data quality.
  • Travel grants to the SEEDCorn All-Hands MeetingMarch 23-24, 2016, SEEDCorn will organize their All-Hands-Meeting. The Hub will invite postdocs and assistant professors who are interested in data and industry participants who have data.

Contact Information:

  • Melissa Cragin, Executive Director of the Midwest BD Hub, cragin [at]
  • Klara Nahrstedt, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, klara [at]

West BD Hub

The West BD Hub is coordinated by the University of Washington, UC Berkeley and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego. The hub’s projects include:

  • The Collaboratory Faire v1.0 – As part of the Hub’s All Hands Meeting (Spring 2016) will allow participants to showcase how they have built upon another group’s tool/data or how others have built upon their open source tools/data. The highlights of the Faire will be captured on video and/or print to leverage partnerships with the USC Annenberg School and for the workshop on data science journalism.
  • The Workshop on Data Hackathon Best Practices – A workshop to empower industry representatives and early career researchers alike to host their own hackathons effectively.
  • Tools of the (Data Journalism) Trade: Workshop on Crafting a Compelling Data Science Narrative – The West Hub with will provide a workshop to educate data scientists on data journalism and best practices for facilitating and pitching public-facing data narratives.

Contact Information: