Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Training for Policy Informatics (ACIT-PI)

The Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Training for Policy Informatics (ACIT-PI) is a National Science Foundation funded interdisciplinary program for Cyberinfrastructure training to policy scientists. Policy scientists seek data-enabled scientific techniques, which requires training in advanced Cyberinfrastructure (CI) methods. They can harvest data from different sources, analyze and interpret them, and arrive at evidence-based decisions. Such a workforce is urgently required in minority and low-income communities with low skills in data science. The ACIT-PI project offers training to two classes of policy scientists: (a) CI users: research analysts in nonprofit and public agencies; and (b) CI contributors and professionals: research scientists specializing in policy science (graduate students). CI users are trained through training workshops, webinars, and self-paced online training modules. CI contributors and CI professionals are trained through a novel interdisciplinary certificate program on Policy Informatics. The ACIT-PI project is jointly undertaken by Florida International University (FIU) Metropolitan Center, Department of Public Policy and Administration, School of Computing and Information Sciences, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. It uses the CI facilities including High Performance Computing and Internet 2 resources available with FIU's Division of Information Technology.

The ACIT-PI project enhances researchers' abilities to lead the development of new CI tools, public domain data, and analysis. The materials and tools developed through the project are available for broader use by other universities through a Policy Information Hub. The Hub includes a Policy Informatics Data Repository of local government administrative data in standardized formats for fostering data driven research. The ACIT-PI project is both innovative and transformative for public policy and administration education. First, the project trains frontline analysts in local governments through annual workshops, which fosters a large pool (of about 120) of CI users. Second, the project develops self-paced online training modules for broader CI adoption by the public administration and policy schools. Third, it offers a novel Policy Informatics certificate program for CI contributors/professionals (over 100 students), which includes curriculum innovations infused with CI tools and methods. Students take courses in policy science, computational methods (including HPC clusters use and CI tools), machine learning, IoT, and cybersecurity tools. PhD students are also trained to become CI experts in policy science. The project fosters a robust community of CI users, contributors, and professionals in policy informatics.