Purpose and Impact
Leveraging the successful model of faculty lunch series that led to the creation of other institutes at Northwestern, the goal of the Data Science Research Networking Luncheons is to identify significant and upcoming research areas with a big data orientation and to stimulate discussion of these research arenas. These networking luncheons are made possible through an allocation of funding from the Office of the Provost to the Data Science Initiative, and the intention is that these luncheons will lead to new faculty connections and collaborations and set research agendas, possibly resulting in potential new and joint hires, research initiatives and proposals, collaborative publications, and/or the identification of other new projects and opportunities.
As of February 2018, 87 faculty from across all tenure and tenure-track ranks, 8 schools, and 31 academic departments are participating. At least 17 new connections have already been formed as a result of the luncheons, and 1800 minutes of intellectual discussion have occurred. Participants have also reported learning from the exchange of news, events, and project and grant updates during each luncheon; being inspired in their own research endeavors; and otherwise benefiting from the inquisitive and collaborative environment created by the luncheons.