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New UW Data Collaborative seeks to bring latest computing tools and data to researchers

Published on October 10, 2019

UW Medicine Research Complex, South Lake Union.
UW Medicine Research Complex, South Lake Union. Image Credit: Perkins+Will

Imagine a researcher at work in a small, windowless “cold room” with an automatic locking door and a desktop computer with zero chance of connecting to the internet in order to protect highly restricted health and population datasets.

Cold rooms offer a strict environment that keeps data safe. But in a highly collaborative institution such as the UW, where cutting-edge research performed by multidisciplinary teams is now the norm, confining data to a single cold room, and to a single investigator, limits its utility.

The usefulness of high-quality data is magnified when shared among multiple investigators so they can help make advances in their fields and offer evidence-driven solutions.

Fostering collaboration and data sharing is the impetus behind the new UW Data Collaborative (UWDC), initiated and hosted by the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology and in partnership with the Population Health InitiativeUrban@UW and the Student Technology Fee program.

The UWDC shows how building collaborative infrastructure, particularly by leveraging existing technology widely offered by UW-IT, can help strengthen the UW research community, said Brad Greer, associate vice president and chief technology officer.

“The UWDC is built on two critical UW research infrastructure IT principles — solid enterprise infrastructure and solid security,” Greer said.

Tracy Mroz, assistant professor in the School of Medicine, agrees. “Housing data with the UWDC creates efficiencies by removing the burden from individual departments to build infrastructure and purchase data,” she said. “It encourages collaboration through data sharing.”


Continue reading at UW Information Technology.

Originally written by Ignacio Lobos for UW-IT.
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