Glen M. de Vries, co-founder and president of Medidata, a New York-based life sciences technology company, has endowed the first student fellowship at New York University’s Center for Data Science.
The $275,000 gift—the Glen de Vries Permanent Fellowship Fund—will support master’s students in the Center for Data Science program at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences (CIMS).
“Mr. de Vries’ generous gift will serve as a tremendous resource in meeting the growing need for trained data scientists,” said Gerard Ben Arous, director of the Courant Institute. “This field is already transforming a range of industries and disciplines. Easing the path to the education of the next generation of practitioners and scholars is of vital importance.”
Earlier this year, NYU announced its Initiative in Data Science and Statistics that aims to harness today’s torrent of data in order to make advances in medicine, science, technology, business, and a range of other fields. The university-wide effort includes the Center for Data Science (CDS) and graduate-degree programs in this emerging academic discipline; the master’s-degree program commences in the fall of 2013.
The de Vries Permanent Fellowship Fund will provide tuition assistance to students in the CDS master’s program at CIMS who demonstrate academic merit and financial need.
Data Science—using automated methods to analyze massive amounts of data and extract knowledge from them—is becoming core to many areas of business, science, engineering, and government. Because this deluge of data is transforming the way work in these fields is carried out and because an increasing amount of new knowledge is being derived by automatically analyzing massive amounts of data, this new discipline has emerged to help provide the underlying theory and methods of the data revolution.
At the same time, there is a growing and largely unfulfilled demand in industry for data scientists. The United States faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis of big data, McKinsey & Company reported in 2011.
De Vries, who had been a clinical researcher at a lab at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, co-founded Medidata in 1999 with a novel web-based application that streamlined clinical trials. One of the largest tech companies founded and still headquartered in NYC, today Medidata is the leading global provider of cloud-based solutions for clinical research in life sciences. Medidata pioneered the use of data-driven analytics in its cloud-based platform, the Medidata Clinical Cloud™, used by over 350 life sciences companies, including 90 percent of the Top 25 global pharma companies.
“The Medidata team has had an amazing journey, with our platform helping our customers bring new therapies to the patients waiting for them,” said de Vries. “Cloud technologies and Big Data have played a huge part in our success, and it is an honor and pleasure to support the next generation of data scientists. I look forward to seeing the impact of their work in our industry, and for society.”
Prior to his work with Medidata, de Vries, who has more than 15 years of experience in medical software development, focused on both research science and medical informatics at Columbia University, working on a blood assay for the detection of micro-metastases in prostate cancer patients and creating a paperless clinical data management system. De Vries studied probabilistic algorithms at the Courant Institute and received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and genetics from Carnegie Mellon University.
For more on NYU’s Initiative in Data Science and Statistics and the educational programs, go to nyu.edu/datascience; for more on the NYU Center for Data Science, go to cds.nyu.edu; for more on Medidata, go to mdsol.com.