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Notre Dame enhances data sciences infrastructure for social science research

Author: Brandi Klingerman

The Center for Research Computing and Center for Social Research to merge

Civil Environmental Engineering Research 6

Notre Dame Research has embarked on an initiative this academic year to identify the infrastructure support needs for social scientists across campus and to find approaches to fill those needs. Information gathering has begun and Vice President for Research Robert Bernhard welcomes the thoughts of faculty and students about how the University can advance its social sciences programs of research and scholarship. 

One area of importance, which is expected to continue to grow as a priority, is gaining access to and using large data sets, so-called “big data,” as well as identifying trends and information within these data sets. This kind of information is becoming increasingly common for all areas of research, but especially for social scientists. As a first step to achieve this, the Center for Social Research (CSR) will be integrated with the Center for Research Computing (CRC) in order to streamline the University’s data science research services. This partnership will provide faculty and students with integrated cyberinfrastructure for the big data era. 

“This merger will enhance the level of support we can offer to members of the Notre Dame community,” said Kate Mueller, managing director of the CSR. “Importantly, our social science researchers will especially see a difference in the breadth of services the CSR can now provide because of this partnership. The CSR is looking forward to working closely with the CRC in order to continually improve and enhance the research support we provide on campus.”

The Center for Social Research will continue to serve social science researchers by supporting statistical analysis, survey design, and implementation, as well as data acquisition and data management. As the CSR integrates into the CRC, it will have the ability to leverage the CRC’s three complementary groups: high performance computing, cyberinfrastructure development, and research software development. Through the streamlined–and improved–infrastructure and with new assets and services added to the CSR’s portfolio, Notre Dame’s social scientists will have easier access to resources and equipment for evaluating and understanding their research data, including visualization support, geographic information systems, cyberinfrastructure development, and more.

“This move will greatly benefit our faculty, as social scientists are constantly using more sophisticated methods to analyze data sets that are larger and more complex,” said John T. McGreevy, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “The collaboration of the CSR and CRC will give us the expertise we need to help our faculty stay at the leading edge of data science and help us to provide the best possible training for our graduate and undergraduate students.” 

This merger is part of Notre Dame Research’s commitment to building an essential infrastructure for social science research as well as the University’s wider commitment to improving and enhancing data science research and support across campus.

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