DISC engages in interdisciplinary research via our many collaborations within Tufts University and beyond. Our research efforts span many scientific areas and disciplines and materialize through our various engagements. DISC staff work directly with other scientists as principal investigators on research projects in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Engineering & Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences & Humanities. DISC has created the SEED Grant program that provides funding to Tufts University faculty and researchers for initiating groups that focus on exploring new ideas in their respective areas. DISC is also involved with Tufts University's T-TRIPODS institute, that is an interdisciplinary effort across multiple departments and campuses to advance the understanding of foundations of data science. We disseminate the results of our research efforts by publishing in leading journal publications and presenting at conference venues.
Our collaborative research projects are our most important contribution to the Tufts University community and at the core of the DISC mission. DISC primarily engages in three scientific areas with our research projects. In Bioinformatics & Computational Biology we are experts in single-cell transcriptomics, biological network analysis, and proteomics. In Engineering & Physical Sciences, our research focuses on uncertainty quantification, multi-scale digital twins, and domain-specific machine learning. In Social Sciences & Humanities, we work on agent-based modeling, AI ethics, and data-driven policy.
Data sciences can enable transformative research in many disciplines. However, initiating such work can be daunting, and knowing where to find partners and expertise may be difficult. DISC helps Tufts researchers overcome these barriers through the SEED Grant program. We seek to accelerate well defined efforts that combine the promise of disciplinary science breakthroughs enabled by new or existing data science methodologies to target high impact research and, in appropriate areas, large sponsored research efforts. We also support the initiation of new group efforts in broad areas. Groups are led by disciplinary researchers and closely supported by DISC staff and fellows. Groups will be encouraged to define “sandbox” like structure for exploring preliminary concepts using new methodologies.
DISC supports such efforts with funding of up to $25,000 for seed grants and up to $10,000 for study groups and provides access to data scientists, data sets, computational resources and other expertise. Applications for these programs are open once per year.
Tufts University is launching the T-TRIPODS institute, which will focus an interdisciplinary effort across multiple departments and campuses to advance the understanding of foundations of data science. The project seeks to support the first three years of the operation of the institute, and will support a culture of interdisciplinary research and learning in data sciences across multiple departments, fostering collaboration among mathematicians, computer scientists, and electrical engineers, as well as with scientists and scholars in a wide range of application domains. The model is built around overlapping three-year focused research topics, with an offset timeline, so that each year, the oldest research topic sunsets while a new research topic is added. T-TRIPODS is strongly committed to Data Science for All, and will partner closely with the Tufts Center for STEM Diversity to broaden participation in undergraduate research opportunities in data science at Tufts.
Data Driven Decision Making @ Tufts
D3M@Tufts — sponsored by a US National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) award — educates two types of Data Professionals. Policy-Savvy Data Experts from STEM disciplines and Data-Proficient Decision Makers from non-STEM disciplines who synthesize numbers and narratives to design and implement data-driven solutions that are technically efficient and contextually appropriate. Two academic pathways are shown on how students from the D3M@Tufts program become Data Professionals receiving their disciplinary degree and a D3M@Tufts Certificate without prolonging their time for graduation with a focus on three overarching ideas: Connecting Numbers and Narratives, Learning How to Learn, Embracing Complexity
To fulfill our mission and share our contributions with the research community, we publish our research results in leading journal and conference venues. We maintain a continuously expanding list of publications on our website together with the corresponding documents when available.