The Data@Carolina initiative promotes data literacy and data-related research and training across the entire UNC-Chapel Hill campus.  This initiative emerged out of several conversations and efforts that have taken place over the last several years.  The group is currently focused on:

  •  A data-related course development grant program, exploring curricular options at the graduate and undergraduate level,

  •  Developing a Professional Science Masters (PSM) and Graduate Certificate programs in Data Science, and

  •  Laying the groundwork for a broader vision for Data@Carolina.

The Data@Carolina initiative has four principle coordinators, but many more people have participated across the entire campus. Anyone who wants to be involved should contact one of the four coordinators listed below.

Jay Aikat, Data@Carolina Program Director, Department of Computer Science and Domain Scientist at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
Stan Ahalt, Department of Computer Science and Director of the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
Tom Carsey, Department of Political Science and Director of the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science
Kevin Jeffay, Chair of Department of Computer Science


Call for Proposals

*** Please note the NEW deadline for proposal submissions is Friday, April 1st at 5:00 p.m***

Slides and other resources from the March workshop

The Data@Carolina initiative is soliciting proposals for data science/data studies course development grants as part of an initiative to promote the development of data skills and data literacy among undergraduate and graduate students across the entire UNC campus.

  • Proposals will be accepted for undergraduate and graduate level courses.
  • Proposals that develop content that can be shared with other faculty and students — for example data sets, software tools, computer code, or any sort of learning modules that can be used in other courses are strongly encouraged.
  • Proposals for courses that will be offered in the 2016-17 Academic year are strongly encouraged.
  • Proposals should identify resources, such as software, existing data sets, or infrastructure requirements that will be needed for student success.

Grants may be used for developing full courses focused on some aspect of data science/data studies, or for significantly integrating data into a course with a substantive focus. Funds can be used to develop entirely new courses or to revise existing courses.  The expectation is that all courses will provide students with substantial hands-on training and experiences with one or more major aspects of data science/data studies.

Applicants may apply for up to $10,000 funding, though we expect average award amounts to be approximately $5,000 for the program. Awards may be used for a variety of purposes, including (but not limited to): supporting a graduate student to work with an undergraduate course; collecting or acquiring data sets to be used for a course; purchasing specialty software not otherwise available to students; hiring a data management expert to support some aspect of the course; paying for the faculty member to attend workshops or gain some additional training; summer salary for a faculty member; or any other expense that can be justified.  We strongly encourage expenditures that will have a broad impact.

This is a new initiative and, as such, we encourage creative proposals from across the entire campus. There are likely many other creative ways that funds could be expended to support creating innovative data courses for students.  Applicants should not feel limited in any way to the examples listed in this call for proposals. We encourage experimentation and creativity, and hope to support a broad diversity of proposals.

All tenure track, fixed term, and adjunct faculty at the University who are eligible to teach undergraduate and/or graduate level courses may apply.

Assistance in developing courses under this program and web resources for sharing data and other materials will be provided by the Data@Carolina initiative through the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science and the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI). 

There will be an information workshop held on Wednesday, March 2 from 2:00pm-4:00pm in the Research Hub located on the second floor of the Davis Library Building for those interested in applying for a course development grant.  The first hour or so will describe some available resources on campus with the remaining time devoted to time for questions and discussion.  Attendance is not required, but is encouraged. Another workshop will be held in April for course grant recipients.  Both workshops are intended to help interested faculty to meet each other, learn more about the available support on campus, and brainstorm ideas.  A follow-up workshop will be held in the Spring of 2017 for recipients to share experiences with each other and with others who might be interested in developing similar courses.
Award recipients commit to:

  •  Creating a new or revising an existing course that can be taken for course credit.
  •  Consulting with the Data@Carolina Course Development Committee regarding the development of the course.
  •  Delivering a report to the Data@Carolina Couse Development Committee detailing the course development activities, the disbursement of funds, and the outcomes of the grant-supported efforts during the grant cycle.
  •  Participating (if possible) in the Kick-off workshop in April of 2016 and the Reunion workshop in the Spring of 2017.
Applicants should submit:

1)  A current CV.

2)  A proposal of no more than three single-spaced pages that includes (but is not limited to): a course description including the role of data in the course, the target audience for the course, and when the course will be offered.

3)  A brief (no more than one additional page) budget and budget justification.

4)  A support note signed by the applicant’s Department Chair

All materials should be submitted via email attachment to Rosemary Russo (rrusso@live.unc.edu) by Friday, April 1st at 5:00 p.m.  Please use the subject line: Data@Carolina Course Proposal

For questions related to the proposal process, contact either Tom Carsey (carsey@unc.edu) or Rosemary Russo (rrusso@live.unc.edu).



An informational workshop for course development grant applicants was held on March 2nd at the Davis Library.  Please see below for links to the presentation slides and other resources that were introduced by the speakers. There will be another informational workshop held in April for grant recipients. This workshop is intended to help participating faculty meet each other, learn more about the available support on campus and brainstorm ideas. A follow-up workshop will be held in the Spring of 2017 for recipients to share experiences with each other and with others who might be interested in developing similar courses.

March 2nd Workshop Materials



Below is a list of data-related resources that course development grant applicants and others may find useful. Don’t see a resource that should be included?  Please complete this form to add a resource to this collection.

Data discovery

Carolina Digital Repository
The Carolina Digital Repository provides access to scholarly materials for over 160 UNC departments.

Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
The Shep Center manages a variety of health services-related datasets including North Carolina hospital discharge data, insurance claims data, and North Carolina Health Professions Data System (HPDS) data.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
UNC is a member of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), which provides access to extensive collections of social science data.

Research Hub @ Davis Library
Skilled librarians and other experts at the Research Hub @ Davis Library are available to assist students and faculty with locating datasets for their research projects.

UNC Dataverse
The UNC Dataverse, hosted by the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, provides access to a variety of downloadable datasets produced by scholars worldwide.

Data collection and analysis

Odum Institute for Research in Social Science
The Odum Institute for Research in Social Science offers data collection services for Web, mail, and mixed-mode surveys on a cost-reimbursement basis. Statistical experts are also available to provide data analysis support for research projects.

The Qualtrics Research Suite is a powerful online survey tool available to all UNC faculty, staff, and students, for UNC-related projects.

Carolina Survey Research Laboratory
The Carolina Survey Research Laboratory (CSRL) provides expert services in the areas of survey and questionnaire design, and data collection.

Prospect Data Visualization Collaboratory
Prospect is a web application offered as a WordPress plugin that enables researchers to collect, curate, and visualize datasets.

Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap)
REDCap is a secure web application that enables researchers to build and manage case report forms, and develop and administer surveys for clinical research.

High-Throughput Sequencing Facility (HTSF)
The HTSF is a full service gene sequencing facility that offers multiple gene sequencing platforms and state-of-the-art techniques and data analysis for genetic and genomic research.

Computing and storage

Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
RENCI hosts software engineering, network, and data management and visualization experts as well as high performance computing facilities to build, test, and deploy data technologies for research teams confronting complex, multidisciplinary scientific challenges.

UNC ITS Research Computing
UNC ITS Research Computing provides the computing infrastructure and other technologies to support the research needs of the University of North Carolina campus.

Department of Computer Science
The Research Laboratories at the UNC Department of Computer Science are equipped with sophisticated technologies to support an array of research with high-performance computational needs. Laboratories include equipment for virtual environments, robotics research, graphics and imaging, bioinformatics and computational biology.

Data management and sharing

Training and education

Other resources and initiatives