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CSDE Awarded NIH Training Grant for Advanced Data Analytics, Demography & Population Health

Posted: 10/19/2020 (CSDE Awards and CSDE Research)

CSDE, along with partners in the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences and the eScience Institute, is among eight awardees across the country selected to develop training programs in advanced data analytics for population health through the NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. This five-year, $1.8 million training program at the UW will fund 25 academic-year graduate fellowships, develop a new training curriculum and contribute to methodological advances in health research at the intersection of demography and data science (see UW News story). Tyler McCormick, associate professor of sociology and statistics, and Jon Wakefield, professor of statistics and biostatistics, led the grant application with support from CSDE Director Sara Curran. The new training program will be led by Zack Almquist, assistant professor of sociology, and will build on CSDE’s graduate certificate in demographic methods by integrating training in advanced statistics and computational methods. For more information, contact Curran at or Almquist at or visit the fellowship website.

The NIH review offered high praise for UW’s training program. “The leadership team has well established credentials, complementary expertise, and a strong track record and the proposed program builds on an existing program with demonstrable record of success,” noted reviewers. “The curriculum – which offers coursework in statistical methods, machine learning, coding, databases, data visualization, and data ethics – is well-thought out and will provide trainees with numerous immersive opportunities.  The data science training steering committee is excellent and complements traditional training models.” 

Additionally, reviewers noted that a “major strength of the curriculum is that the proposed training is not specific to any one data structure but is designed to provide the methodological and theoretical tools to analyze any data using foundational principles and modern computational techniques.”  

This funding was designed to fill educational gaps and needs in the behavioral and social sciences research community that are not being addressed by existing educational opportunities, according to the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. More information about the national initiative can be found here.