Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub Community Engagement and Progress


Our Community Commitment

Here at the Hub, we believe in strengthening our impact by building and expanding partnerships across industry, academia, nonprofits, and government. Through our efforts in collaboration with the community, we address societal and scientific challenges, spur economic development, and accelerate innovation in the national big data ecosystem.

The Northeast Hub is a community convener, collaboration hub, and catalyst for data science innovation in the Northeast Region. The Hub amplifies successes of the community, and shares credit across the community to encourage collaboration and mutual success in data science endeavors.

An Overview of our Community’s Engagement

Maps of Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub Community. Click on images to expand.

Northeast Big Data Hub Audience: Individuals, Organizations, and Higher Education Institutions Reached through September 2021

  • The Hub audience is composed of individuals from the 50 states in the U.S. plus Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and 29 countries outside of the U.S.
  • Through September 2021, the Hub reached 4,836 individuals, spanning across sectors including academia, non-profit, industry, and government
  • Through September 2021, the Hub reached 1,011 organizations/institutions. About half of the organizations reached by the Hub reside in the Northeastern U.S. The remaining organizations span across the South, Midwest, and West regions of the U.S., as well as organizations outside of the U.S. in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
  • Through September 2021, the Hub reached 501 Higher Education institutions. Of those institutions, 23% are minority-serving institutions (MSI). The following tables give a breakdown of these institutions:
MSINon – MSITotals
Private18188206
Public99196295
Totals117384501
Higher Education Minority Serving Institution Types Reached by the Hub

MSI TypeNumber of institutions (n=117 MSIs*)
Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI)69
Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander – Serving Institution (AANAPISI)27
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)22
Primarily Black Institutions (PBI)9
Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian – Serving Institutions (ANNH)4
Native American – Serving Non-tribal Institutions (NASNTI)3
Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU)1
* total is greater than n=117 because some institutions have more than one MSI designation (e.g. HSI + AANAPISI)

Community Growth in 2020

  • In 2020, the Hub reached 1,210 new individuals from 409 organizations in 47 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C. and 7 non-U.S. countries including China, Greece, India, Nigeria, Peru, Switzerland, the United Kingdom

Community Growth in 2021

In February 2021, the Hub launched the National Student Data Corps (NSDC), which as of June 2021, has brought 1,410 new individuals and 63 new organizations into the hub community. This included the addition of our 16th non-U.S. country with the addition of Lebanon, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates.

COVID Information Commons

  • Since its launch in July 2020, the COVID Information Commons reached 1,765 individuals across 547 organizations, spanning across various sectors, across all regions of the U.S., Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as in areas outside of the U.S. in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
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Maps of COVID Information Commons Community. Click on images to expand.

Seed Fund Program

  • The 2020 Seed Fund Program reached 253 institutions within the Northeast region, including a new outreach list of 150 academic institutions that include minority serving institutions, colleges and universities without data science programs, and data science institutes.
  • In total, the Hub received 40 seed fund proposals from 29 different institutions.
  • The Hub awarded 19 seed grants to 16 different institutions.
  • The most popular focus areas were Health and Education and Data Literacy, both of which had a total of 19 proposals and 8 grants awarded.
  • 90% (36) of proposals came from academic institutions and the remaining 10% (4) came from non-profit organizations.
  • 95% (18) of the awards were granted to academic institutions and 5% (1) to a non-profit.
  • 15% (3) of the awards were granted to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

National Student Data Corps

The National Student Data Corps (NSDC) began in 2020 with a call for a Founding Committee (NSDC FC) which has attracted 24 individuals from 19 organizations across the Northeast region. Working together in three teams responsible for Content and Pedagogy, Peer Instruction and Mentoring, and Outreach, we launched the NSDC at the Inaugural NDSC Data Science Career Panel on February 19, 2021. The panel included students, professors, researchers, and a data science professional with leadership experience in industry, nonprofit, and government organizations, inspiring learners of all ages to pursue or consider data science careers. As of September 2021, the NSDC community is made up of 1,694 individuals from 276 institutions representing the U.S. and 7 other countries – Australia, Germany, India, Lebanon, Netherlands, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. You can read more about our most recent webinar in this blog post.

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Maps of the National Student Data Corps Community. Click on images to expand.

2021 Leadership Map

Hub Leadership

The Hub leadership consists of four committees comprised of 33 individuals from 27 different organizations in the Northeast region.

The four teams are comprised of:

  • 7 individuals on the Steering Committee from both the academic and nonprofit sectors.
  • 8 individuals on the Seed Fund Steering Committee from the academic, industry, and nonprofit sectors.
  • 4 individual Co-Principal Investigators, and one Principal Investigator, from the academic sector.
  • 18 individuals on the Advisory Board from the academic, industry, and nonprofit sectors.

Evaluating and Strengthening Hub Actions

The Hub is committed to continuously strengthening our impact by utilizing the community’s feedback to guide our practices and understand how we can best serve the community. To assist us on this mission, we use an independent evaluator to help us assess the impact of various efforts led by the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub.

In 2020, we drew on the help of Knology, an impartial research collective independent of the Northeast Big Data Hub, to evaluate the Hub’s activities. In July of 2020, we were provided with the first phase of the Knology evaluation. The report explored the impacts of the Hub’s programmatic activities aimed at increasing engagement in big data science, developing shared resources and services, and data science education and workforce development.

The data collected in the report suggested that the Hub occupies a central role in fostering meaningful collaborations between stakeholders from various sectors of the data science field and is well suited to address some of the current gaps in the field around gathering and sharing large datasets. The second phase of the evaluation was made available in December 2020.

Overall, the the second phase of the evaluation in December found the community to be even more satisfied with the Hub, and the summative evaluation demonstrated that the Hub is successfully meeting each of the four stated goals laid out in its strategic plan. There are still some challenges to address as the Hub continues to grow – particularly around staff capacity – but it has a strong foundation on which to improve and grow with continued NSF support. In sum, analysis across both rounds of evaluation demonstrate that, building on successful efforts to date, the Hub has a critical future role to play in increasing data science capacity, access, and opportunity throughout the Northeast region and beyond.

Some findings from the summative evaluation include:

  • The Hub’s more streamlined and targeted outreach efforts have resulted in deeper and more diverse engagement with the community
  • There are clear channels of communication between the Hub and members of the data science community.
  • The Executive Team has stepped up efforts in the area of community building, yielding tangible outcomes
  • Through the Hub’s activities, members have expanded their professional networks and been exposed to new opportunities for collaboration.
  • The Hub encourages active involvement from young people and has provided ways to engage them that align with the needs of both professors and students.
  • The Hub is continuing to grow by amplifying the work of its existing members and reaching new potential stakeholders.

Evaluation feedback from participants: 

“They’re doing a darn good job of linking people together, and that’s the best use of data.”  

“One of the hallmarks of the Northeast Big Data Hub is the collaboration aspect.”  

“They’re very responsive, always open to conversation and discussions, brainstorming about new ideas, open to expanding into whatever areas might be useful for the researchers involved.”

The entire summative evaluation report is available below.

Hub Activities to Serve our Community

As part of the evaluation, Knology identified ways that the Hub may seek to maximize its impact in the following years. We are working to build their recommendations into our strategy and operations.

Beyond our existing community events, we will reach broader and non-academic communities by incorporating the following strategies:

  • Increasing our participation in existing conferences and events popular among the community, such as research and education network events and college events
  • Organizing new community events, such as the COVID Information Commons (CIC) Community lightning talk webinars and events 
  • Providing more opportunity for students to participate in Hub activities and increase engagement in the COVID-19 research community, with the CIC Student Paper Challenge
  • Developing programs that support underserved communities, such as the National Student Data Corps (NSDC)
  • Extending our reach by co-branding events with collaborator organizations and placing a special focus on reaching communities we may not know yet, such as with the Global Connected Healthcare Cybersecurity Virtual 2021 Workshop Series presented by the IEEE SA, IEEE P2933™ Working Group, and the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub
  • Creating more content highlighting Northeast data science projects, outcomes, and opportunities from community voices, including community Success Stories
  • Incorporating topics highlighting new developments in the field, across our four Focus Areas
  • Expanding existing multi-channel communications, with more news on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as our YouTube channel
  • Meeting quarterly to review engagement analytics to inform communications strategy

Your Feedback

Here at the Hub, we value your thoughts and believe they’re very important in helping us inform our practices. Please feel free to leave us feedback using the form below.