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UVA Initiative to Make Protected Data Accessible to Smaller Schools

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University of Virginia (UVA) has received a grant to broaden Virginia universities’ access to protected data for research.

The National Science Foundation gave a $2.5 million grant to the UVA to fund the Virginia Assuring Controls Compliance of Research Data, a collaborative that it runs in coordination with its College at Wise.

The collaborative is run by nearly 11 researchers from Virginia universities to build a high-performance computer system for hosting research using data that by law must be protected. It is the first initiative of its kind in the country to address growing disparities in universities’ access to protected data for research.

“When protected data is involved, partnerships become complicated, particularly from a legal perspective. Our work will create a primer on how to bring in partners with protected data,” Ronald R. Hutchins, vice president for information technology at UVA and one of the project leaders said.

The researchers are aiming to create a shared, high-performance computing system to support research that uses sensitive data. It will immensely benefit the smaller universities who don’t have the infrastructure to guarantee protection for increasingly large and diverse sets of data.

“If we bring in smaller schools with different ideas and backgrounds, it will help us in creating diversity,” Hutchins added.

Along with Hutchins, the project is being led by Scott Bevins, associate provost for information services and chief information officer at UVA-Wise.

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