Explore Data+ Projects for Summer 2021 and Apply Now

Data+.

Deadline: February 26, 2021

Interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges? Student applications are now open for this summer’s Data+ research program. The application deadline is February 26, but applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so students should apply as soon as possible.

Data+ is a full-time ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates and master’s students. Students join small teams and learn how to marshal, analyze and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the field of data science. In 2021, the program will run from June 1 through August 6.

Data+ is offered through the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke and is part of the Bass Connections Information, Society & Culture theme. See details and apply.

2021 Data+ Projects

Check out the virtual Data+ Information Fair on January 29 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST. Register here.

New Fellowship in Computational Humanities for Ph.D. Students in English

The Rhodes iiD Doctoral Fellowship in the Computational Humanities is an opportunity for English doctoral students at Duke University to receive training in the methodology and theory of computational and digital literary studies. The fellowship program will introduce students to both research and pedagogical practices using computational methods. Fellows will also gain an understanding of the quickly-developing critical questions and methodologies that drive scholarship in the digital humanities.

Through workshops and mentoring, the fellowship creates a collaborative environment where English PhD students can acquire the necessary skills to translate their teaching and research interests into a digital or computational project. The projects undertaken as part of the fellowship aim to advance and complement the students’ dissertation research and their teaching within the English department. Because of this, the students will be required to design and create projects that reflect their core areas of research. Fellows are encouraged, though not required, to work towards a conference presentation or a publication for their project. At the end of each year of the program, they will share their completed projects on a public-facing website as well as present their work in a public panel.

Structure of Fellowship Program

  • Applications are due at the end of the third year of doctoral studies (see the application information page for details)
  • Fellowship starts at the beginning of the fall semester of the student’s fourth year and ends at the end of the summer following the student’s fifth year:
    • Students are expected to continue work on their digital project during the summers. If the fellow graduates at the end of year 5 of their program, they will be asked to use that summer’s award to complete the project’s website and move towards publication or conference presentation of the project where possible.
    • The first year will focus on designing a project and, if the option is selected, carrying out the project within the student’s English 90S course (see projects page for details).
    • Students in their second year of the fellowship will focus on completing their project, working towards the website, panel, and, if possible, conference presentation and/or publication.
    • If they participate in Data+ in the first summer of the fellowship, the fellows will be expected to mentor new fellows participating in Data+ during the second summer.
    • Students in their second year of the fellowship will be required to provide feedback and mentoring to the students in their first year.

What the Fellowship Gives to Students

  • $5,000 annual stipend for two years distributed as follows: $1,500 fall term; $1,500 spring term; and $2,000 summer term. Award for the second year of the fellowship is depended on satisfactory progress (both in computational/digital project and in degree requirements as determined by dissertation director).
  • Opportunity to seek feedback on work from faculty and other fellows, and the opportunity to mentor new fellows during your second year in the fellowship.
  • Workshops and learning opportunities around digital research, pedagogy, and presentation. During the school year, fellows will participate in a regular workshop (every three weeks) that will guide them through the process of designing a digital project, learning the relevant critical and methodological scholarship, and receive help and feedback on the implementation of their work.
  • Networking opportunities with invited scholars.
  • Where applicable, the Faculty Coordinator, Astrid Giugni, will visit the classroom for each fellow’s pedagogical project to provide support and to generate material for a teaching letter.
  • Feedback and instruction on how to develop their projects towards a conference presentation or a publication.

Application Information

To be eligible for the fellowships, students need to:

  • Be a doctoral student in the English department at Duke University
  • Have completed preliminary exams by the start date of the fellowship
  • Receive a letter from dissertation director testifying to satisfactory progress in the requirements for the degree at the time of application and at review time after the first year of the fellowship

Two fellowships will be awarded each year by the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke.

Please note: no background in digital or computational methods is necessary. Students of all levels of digital experience (including no experience) are encouraged to apply! The workshops during the first year of the fellowship will guide you in developing a project and learning what skills you will need to develop in order to finish the project.

To apply, please email the Faculty Coordinator, Astrid Giugni, to schedule a preapplication meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to help students navigate the application process.

Faculty Can Propose Interdisciplinary Data+ Projects for Summer 2021

Data+

Deadline: November 2, 2020

Overview

Data+ is a ten-week summer research experience that welcomes Duke undergraduates interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges.

Students join small project teams, collaborating alongside other teams in a communal environment. They learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the modern world of data science. In Summer 2019 there were 30 such teams, and they all worked together in Gross Hall, sitting in a dedicated workspace provided by the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD), the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), and the Energy Initiative. In Summer 2020, there were 29 teams, and the experience was necessarily virtual. There is clearly a chance that we will be virtual again in Summer 2021, but we will not know this until later in the year.

Each undergraduate participant receives a $5,000 stipend. Each summer, Data+ runs from late May until the first few days of August. As the communal atmosphere is essential for student success, please note that Data+ projects only run during these ten weeks, and that all student participants are required to contribute full-time efforts (no employment, no other classes).

This is a call for proposals for faculty-sponsored Data+ projects in the Summer 2021 edition of Data+. We are especially interested in proposals that involve a partner from outside the academy, or a faculty member from a different discipline. We also encourage proposals that involve previously untested ideas or unanalyzed datasets, and we hope that the Data+ team can make a contribution with important proof-of-principle work that may lead to more substantial faculty work and/or connections in the future. We also welcome proposals that will lead to the undergraduates creating tools that might be used in the classroom or that might facilitate community engagement with data and data-driven questions. Finally, we are particularly excited about projects that foster links between Duke and Durham City/County/School government and/or community groups, as well as between Duke and North Carolina Central University.

How to Apply

To apply, please prepare a document (three pages maximum) that responds to the following prompts, ideally in this order.

Name of Project: Please use a short name that succinctly describes the nature of the project and is not overly technical. If your project is selected for Data+, then this title will be used for the project web page and project listings, and we may ask you to shorten it later for that purpose.

Summary: Please write a project summary, including the basic ideas behind the proposal.

Faculty Leads: Data+ is especially interested in projects that connect faculty from distinct disciplines, as well as projects that enable faculty to branch out in new directions. Please describe the intended faculty leads, and the expected benefits from their participation.

Mentoring: Day-to-day faculty involvement in Data+ is not expected. Instead, each Data+ project has a mentor, usually a graduate student or postdoc, who is on hand to give the student team more focused guidance. The time commitment tends to be 5-7 hours per week, and funding is generally available to cover this person’s time. If you have a mentor in mind, please indicate who this is and why they are well-suited. If you do not, please describe the skills you would like this person to have (we are generally able to find faculty-mentor matches)

Goals: describe the intended goals and products of the project, in the following manner:

  • Describe entirely reachable goals that you fully expect the students to achieve: these could be answers to a question, explorations of a hypothesis, and things of that nature.
  • Describe a tangible product the students will create in the course of their research, which ideally will be of use both to further researchers at the university and to the students as something they can show off to future employers or graduate schools. This could be, for example, a good piece of well- commented software, or a visualization device, or a detailed curation of previously raw data.
  • Describe a more outrageous goal that you would be quite (pleasantly!) surprised to see the students achieve, along with a plan for them to build a potential roadmap towards that goal. For example, this goal might only be reachable if you had data that you currently do not have, and the students might build a speculative roadmap towards acquiring that data.

Data: Most Data+ projects involve analysis of datasets. Some of these are publicly available, and some are not. As it is essential that students actually be able to analyze the needed data for the project, we are very interested in plans to ensure that this will happen. Please address this in the following manner:

  • For each dataset that will be analyzed by the student team, please give a high-level description of the dataset (what’s in it, how was it collected, and for which purpose, how large is it, etc.).
  • For each dataset, indicate whether you anticipate IRB approval will be needed for student access, and if not, why not. If IRB approval will be needed, indicate whether a protocol already exists, and your plan for incorporating the student involvement. If it does not already exist, please describe your plan (including a timeline) for obtaining one.
  • For each dataset, indicate whether it is owned and/or is being provided by an outside party. If so, please describe the intended path towards ensuring that students will be granted the ability to access the dataset (we are often able to assist in crafting Data Use Agreements with outside parties, for example).

Outside Partners: Some of the best Data+ projects have a partner from outside of the university, or at least from outside the traditionally academic parts of the university. This might be someone who is invested in the data or the questions, and to whom the students will in essence “deliver analysis and insight.” Ideally, this partner will be able to come two or three times during the summer to hear updates from your students and provide feedback.

For each such partner, please describe their expected interest in the project, how much they would interact with the team, whether or not they’d be able to contribute funds toward student stipends, and please also identify a point-of-contact for this partner.

Deadline and Contact

The deadline for completing this application is November 2, 2020, 5:00 p.m. Please submit your proposal to Ariel Dawn (ariel.dawn@duke.edu) on or before that deadline for consideration.

If you would like help in developing your proposal, please contact Paul Bendich (bendich@math.duke.edu) or Gregory Herschlag (gregory.herschlag@duke.edu).

Dive into Big Data and Collaborative Research through a Data+ Summer Project

Group of Data+ students.

Deadline: February 27, 2020

Interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges? Student applications are now open for this summer’s Data+ research program. The application deadline is February 27, but applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so students should apply as soon as possible.

Data+ logo.Data+ is a ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates and master’s students. Students join small teams and learn how to marshal, analyze and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the field of data science. In 2020 the program will run from May 26 through July 31.

Data+ is offered through the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke and is part of the Bass Connections Information, Society & Culture theme.

Explore the 2020 Data+ Projects

How Data+ Works

Participants receive a $5,000 stipend for this full-time research experience, out of which they must arrange their own housing and travel. Participants may not accept employment or take classes during the program; this requirement is strictly enforced and nonnegotiable. The program is open to students at all levels and from all majors. Past students have come from a variety of backgrounds, majors and levels of experience with coding. Through collaboration, all students learn to use data analysis to solve problems across disciplines.

Each team is made up of two to three undergraduates (and occasionally one master’s student) and one to two doctoral student mentors, in addition to a client or sponsor. Teams work alongside each other in a communal environment, learning from each other.

How to Apply

Students can apply for project teams using the Data+ Application Portal. Students may apply to up to three project teams, ranked in order of preference, and must submit the following items to complete their application:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Transcript (unofficial copy is fine)
  • One paragraph (per project chosen) about how you can contribute to the project
  • Two references (no actual letters, just names and email addresses)
  • Anything else required in the project description.

Stop by the Data+ Info Fair on January 17 from 3:00 to 4:00 in Gross Hall’s Energy Hub Atrium.

Kyle Bradbury on Improving Global Energy Access through Machine Learning and Collaboration

Kyle Bradbury and Bass Connections team members.
Kyle Bradbury (far left) and members of the 2018-19 Bass Connections project team Energy Data Analytics Lab: Energy Infrastructure Map of the World through Satellite Data (Photo: Energy Initiative)

Kyle Bradbury is managing director of the Energy Data Analytics Lab at the Duke University Energy Initiative. Recently, the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) asked him to explain what he works on and how he involves students through the Data+ and Bass Connections programs. Here are excerpts from their conversation:

Locating Energy Infrastructure Using Satellite Imagery

My research focuses on how we can make energy systems more affordable, accessible, reliable, and clean using machine learning and data analysis tools. The team that I work with, we’re working on questions around understanding where energy infrastructure is using satellite imagery. One of the challenges in this space is called geographic domain adaptation. If I have an algorithm that’s able to find solar panels in California and I train my algorithm there, how am I able to then use that to find solar panels in Africa, Asia, or Europe? Being able to transfer that can really increase the impact of the research that we’re doing, but it leads to a lot of challenging technical issues.

Energy Access

Another research area that I’ve been working on with other members of the team is looking at how we can use data to address some of the challenges in the energy access space. Right now there are close to a billion people around the world that don’t have access to electricity, but we don’t necessarily know which specific communities lack access, and we don’t always know where the grid infrastructure is that could potentially provide access to electricity.

Student Engagement

iiD has been a fantastic resource, especially with their program Data+. Data+ is a ten-week summer program for undergraduates to deeply engage in a data-focused research project. Over the last few years, we’ve engaged numerous undergraduates to help us with our research. They produced datasets and laid the foundation for dozens of research papers that have been able to answer some of these really challenging questions at the intersection of energy systems and machine learning.

This year, Bradbury is leading a Bass Connections project team, A Wider Lens on Energy: Adapting Deep Learning Techniques to Inform Energy Access Decisions, which builds on the work of last summer’s related Data+ project.

Video by the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD)

Data+ Students Present Findings at Durham City Hall on Local Eviction Trends

Miezo.
Data+ Durham Evictions member Samantha Miezio presents her team’s findings to the Durham City Council and County Commission. (Photo: Ariel Dawn)

Over the summer of 2019, DataWorks NC sponsored a Duke Data+ project with the Rhodes Information Initiative to examine eviction data in Durham, and identify trends that could guide Durham City and County Government and other stakeholders in deciding which interventions would be most effective for Durham community members facing eviction from their homes.

Undergraduates Ellis Ackerman (Math, NCSU), Rodrigo Araujo (Computer Science, Duke), and Samantha Miezio (Public Policy, Duke) spent ten weeks with project manager Libby McClure building tools to help understand the scope, cause, and effects of evictions in Durham County. Using eviction data recorded by the Durham County Sheriff’s Department and demographic data from the American Community Survey, the team investigated relationships between rent and evictions, created cost-benefit models for eviction diversion efforts, and built interactive visualizations of eviction trends.

On October 8, Miezio and McClure presented their findings at a joint meeting of the Durham City Council and County Commission. Among the team’s findings are that the month of January has more evictions than any other month in the last seven years. Minorities and others at a disadvantage experience a significantly higher rate of evictions than whites do, and that rent increases are followed by an increase in eviction rates about two months later. Over the past 15 years, there has been an average of over 29 evictions filings per day in Durham, resulting in a housing crisis that also strains other support networks in the city.

Graphs.

Eviction has multiple negative consequences that affect the entire community, including increased mental health issues, loss of employment, and displacement of children from their schools. It becomes harder to find another place to rent, since the eviction is on record. Evictions cause strain and added expense for other social services such as homeless shelters, hospital emergency rooms, food banks, and other support networks working with limited resources.

The team is now focusing on possible interventions that would help reduce evictions and divert those at risk to other programs that can help. They are investigating the potential benefits and limitations of policies like Universal Right to Counsel in Durham, which was recently adopted in New York City and Philadelphia.

“Tenants are not guaranteed legal representation in civil court as they are in criminal court,” says Miezio. “If someone is being evicted because they can’t afford rent, it’s probable that they can’t afford a lawyer to represent them. Ninety-five percent of tenants who show up in court don’t have lawyers. Many times, the evictions filed against them are unjust or unlawful. A common theme I heard this summer from meeting with lawyers from Legal Aid is that some tenants get evicted after requesting maintenance in the home if it has serious safety and health concerns. A lawyer could defend the tenant by arguing the defense of retaliatory eviction or even affirmative habitability claims. Lawyers can also help the tenant get more time to relocate in lieu of having an eviction judgment placed on the tenant’s record. Universal right to counsel has the potential to promote a basic human right of legal representation in court and provide a more fair legal process for tenants.”

Pie chart.

The audience was impressed with the work the Data+ team did this summer, although the results have led to more questions that will need to be answered before moving forward on potential policy changes. The team is working with City and County officials to refine their parameters and drill down into the causes behind evictions.

“I’m always grateful to have good data to help guide my policy choices, but of course we have limited resources at the city to gather and analyze data for the many issues we try to address. Having a partnership with Duke’s Data+ program helps give us the information we need to understand what’s happening in our community better and make better decision as policymakers,” said Mayor Pro Tempore and At Large Council Member Jillian Johnson.

In September, the City of Durham, Duke University, the North Carolina Community Development Initiative, Self-Help, and SunTrust jointly announced the launch of the Durham Affordable Housing Loan Fund (DAHLF), which seeks to aid affordable housing developers in addressing the critical shortage of affordable multifamily and single-family housing in the Bull City. Developers for low- to middle-income housing often can’t compete with the larger development firms that have been changing the landscape of downtown Durham. These loans will help to level the playing field, and hopefully allow some residents to stay in place.

By Ariel Dawn; originally posted on the Rhodes iiD website

Rhodes iiD Invites Faculty Proposals for Data+ Summer Projects

Data+ proposals RFP.

Deadline: November 4, 2019

Data+ is a ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates interested in exploring data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges.

Students join small teams and work alongside other teams in a communal environment. They learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the field of data science. In Summer 2019 there were 30 Data+ teams working together in Gross Hall.

Data+ is offered through the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) and is part of the Bass Connections Information, Society & Culture theme. The program runs from mid-May until the end of July. During this time, students are required to contribute to the team full-time and may not take classes or have other employment.

Request for Proposals

We invite proposals for faculty-sponsored Data+ projects in Summer 2020. We are especially interested in proposals that involve a partner from outside the academy or a faculty member from a different discipline. We also encourage proposals that involve previously untested ideas or unanalyzed datasets, and we hope that the Data+ team can make a contribution with important proof-of-principle work that may lead to more substantial faculty work and/or connections in the future. We also welcome proposals that will lead to the undergraduates creating tools that might be used in the classroom or facilitate community engagement with data and data-driven questions.

Opportunity to submit a joint proposal for a year-long Bass Connections project and a Summer 2020 Data+ project: Interested faculty may propose a Data+ project connected to a year-long Bass Connections project by completing the Bass Connections RFP (to be released on Sept. 3 and due Nov. 4). Please be prepared to articulate how you will connect the Data+ project with the year-long project. Funding decisions will be made by each program individually, so it is possible that your proposal may be accepted for only Data+ or only Bass Connections. Please contact Laura Howes if you have questions or want to discuss how other faculty have connected these experiences in the past.

Data+ Application Format

To apply, please prepare a document (three pages maximum) that responds to the following prompts, ideally in this order.

Name of project: Please use a short name that succinctly describes the nature of the project and is not overly technical. If your project is selected for Data+, this title will be used for the project web page and project listings.

Summary: Please write a project summary, including the basic ideas behind the proposal.

Faculty leads: Data+ is especially interested in projects that connect faculty from different disciplines, as well as projects that enable faculty to branch out in new directions. Please describe the intended faculty leads and the expected benefits from their participation.

Mentoring: Day-to-day faculty involvement in Data+ is not expected. Instead, each Data+ project has a mentor, usually a graduate student or postdoc, who is on hand to give the student team more focused guidance. The time commitment tends to be five to seven hours per week, and funding is generally available to cover the mentor’s time.

If you have a mentor in mind, please indicate who this is and why s/he is well suited. If you do not, please describe the skills you would like this person to have (we are generally able to find faculty-mentor matches).

Goals: Describe the intended goals and products of the project, in the following manner:

  • Describe entirely reachable goals that you fully expect the students to achieve: these could be answers to a question, explorations of a hypothesis, or other things of that nature.
  • Describe a tangible product the students will create in the course of their research, which ideally will be of use both to further researchers at the university and to the students as something they can show off to future employers or graduate schools. This could be, for example, a good piece of well-commented software, or a visualization device, or a detailed curation of previously raw data.
  • Describe a more outrageous goal that you would be quite (pleasantly!) surprised to see the students achieve, along with a plan for them to build a potential roadmap toward that goal. For example, this goal might only be reachable if you had data that you currently do not have, and the students might build a speculative roadmap toward acquiring that data

Data: Most Data+ projects involve analysis of datasets. Some of these are publically available, and some are not. As it is essential that students be able to analyze the needed data for the project, we are very interested in plans to ensure that this will happen. Please address this in the following manner:

  • For each dataset that will be analyzed by the student team, please give a high-level description of the dataset (what’s in it, how was it collected and for which purpose, how large is it, etc.).
  • For each dataset, indicate whether you anticipate IRB approval will be needed for student access, and if not, why not. If IRB approval will be needed, indicate whether a protocol already exists and describe your plan for incorporating the student involvement. If it does not already exist, please describe your plan (including a timeline) for obtaining one.
  • For each dataset, indicated whether it is owned and/or is being provided by an outside party. If so, please describe the intended path toward ensuring that students will be granted the ability to access the dataset (we are often able to assist in crafting Data Use Agreements with outside parties, for example).

Outside partners: Some of the best Data+ projects have had a partner from outside the university. This might be someone who is invested in the data or the questions, and to whom the students will in essence deliver analysis and insight. Ideally, this partner will be able to come to Gross Hall two or three times during the summer to hear updates from the students and provide feedback.

For each such partner, please describe their expected interest in the project, how much they would interact with the team, whether or not they’d be able to contribute funds towards student stipends, and also identify a point of contact for this partner.

Deadline and Contact

The deadline for submitting this application is November 4, 2019, 5:00 p.m. Please email your completed application to Ariel Dawn. If you would like help in developing your proposal, please contact Paul Bendich.

Graduate Students Can Propose Data Expeditions for Undergraduate Courses

Data Expeditions.

Deadlines: August 5, 2019 for Fall 2019; October 10, 2019 for Spring 2020

The Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) invites graduate students to submit a Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 Data Expeditions proposal.

Rhodes iiD, in partnership with the Social Science Research Institute, will support pairs of graduate students to prepare a data set for use in an undergraduate class and then assist the faculty instructor by supervising the data expedition within the class. Another useful approach is to prepare several data sets for use in illustrating the ideas behind a particular data analysis technique.

Graduate students who participate receive a (tax-free) grant of $1,500 for academic-related travel (such as conferences or workshops), texts, certain hardware (as long as it does not have a hard drive) and software, and more.

Review past Data Expeditions projects.

See details and apply for Fall 2019 undergraduate Data Expeditions.

See details and apply for Spring 2020 undergraduate Data Expeditions.