The largest gift in UVA history will provide support for faculty, administration, and doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at the school, which is still in the design and planning stage, and will be matched by funds from the university's Bicentennial Professors Fund and Bicentennial Scholars Fund. Building on the university's Data Science Institute, which was established in 2013 with $10 million from the Quantitative Foundation and currently awards graduate degrees, the School of Data Science will offer both doctoral and undergraduate degree as well as certificate programs, helping to meet the soaring demand for qualified data science professionals in Virginia and nationwide.
Instead of departments, the school will have satellites embedded in other schools in order to facilitate collaborative data science work in those disciplines, as well as theme-based centers with different focus areas, including data acquisition, engineering, analytics, visualization and dissemination, and ethics, policy, and law. According to UVA, the school will focus on "responsible data science," working toward diversity, openness, and transparency, with the goal of making everything — from policies, procedures, and educational materials to lab materials, data, analytics, and published literature — a resource for the public good.
Funded by alumnus Jaffray Woodriff ('91), co-founder and CEO of Quantitative Investment Management, the Quantitative Foundation has given more than $30 million to UVA.
"Quantitative Foundation shares the University of Virginia's belief that the School of Data Science will establish leadership in a field that already plays a central role in shaping our future," said Woodriff. "The time is right to establish a school which will not only train the finest data scientists in the world but will also collaborate with schools across the university to evaluate and shape policy with respect to the ethical, privacy, and regulatory aspects of data science application."