Meharry School of Applied Computational Sciences has received a $1.2 million National Science Foundation CREST HBCU-RISE grant. The award will increase research capacity and fund support for students and faculty in the School’s new Data Science Ph.D. program.
Meharry SACS launched the Data Science Ph.D. program in September of 2023. Through integrating research and a challenging curriculum, the program will produce talented, diverse data science leaders with a strong artificial intelligence and machine learning focus.
“By funding computing resource enhancements and support for Data Science Ph.D. students and hiring new faculty, this NSF CREST HBCU-RISE grant is a significant boost in our goal to pursue socially responsible research and create a nationally recognized Ph.D. program in data science,” says Dean Fortune S. Mhlanga.
The award will fund 50 percent student support for six Data Science Ph.D. students enrolled in the Fall 2024 and Fall 2025 cohorts. Students will also receive support via graduate teaching and research assistant positions that they can pursue upon successfully completing the candidacy exam.
Meharry SACS will also hire an associate and an assistant professor who will join the School’s existing faculty to spearhead data science research and engagement activities for student success.
NSF CREST HBCU-RISE grant highlights
Funds support for:
- Six students in the Fall 2024 cohort (50%)
- Six students in the Fall 2025 cohort (50%)
- Two new faculty hires
- Enhancements to the Meharry high-performance computing resources
“A Data Science Ph.D. program requires faculty who not only have proven expertise in artificial intelligence and other areas of data science, but can also effectively advise our doctoral students as they explore novel, innovative work,” says Nadine Shillingford, Ph.D., chair, department of computer science and data science.
The NSF award will upgrade Meharry’s high-performance computing system by funding a computer sled and networking accessories. Managed by Meharry’s Enterprise Data and Analytics division, these enhancements will benefit not only the Data Science Ph.D. program, but the entire Meharry community.
“These resource improvements lead to research advancements that also benefit the classroom experience,” says Dr. Shillingford. “This NSF support helps ensure that our students will have the education and experience to become leaders in any industry they choose.”
Dean Mhlanga is the primary investigator for the grant. Co-primary investigators are Todd Gary, Ph.D., director, external research development partnerships; Dr. Shillingford; Ashutosh Singhal, Ph.D., chief data officer and associate vice-president, EDA, and T.L. Wallace, Ph.D., chair, department of Biomedical Data Science.