Biocomplexity Supplemental Award

Biocomplexity Supplemental Award

SIF186 Biocomplexity Supplemental Award

Project Manager: Chris Barrett

Supplemental award to SIF160 to support the ongoing activities of the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative.

BoV Approved: Summer 2022

Project Dates: 7/1/2022 - 6/30/2027

Funding Awarded: $16,715,096

Executive Summary

Biocomplexity is about massively interacting systems — biological, social, cognitive, and computational. It is also about how these interact with non-living systems, including the structures and systems we create. How people interact with technology has tremendous implications for society and the economy.

Humans, animals, plants, and microorganisms are complex systems made up millions of interacting parts. Human cognition influences behavior in societies that function through the interactions of countless living and non-living systems. Societies, infrastructures, and technologies are deeply connected, evolving, complex systems. BII research engages in research motivated by real world problems found in these systems.

These large-scale, complex systems are continuously influencing one another, and for every question we ask about how a policy decision, a new agricultural technique, an energy source, or a group behavior might impact life on earth, the number of variables we consider in order to understand, predict and visualize reality is as massive as the number of stars in the universe.

Today, with computer systems that can store and process massive volumes of data, it is possible to unpack even the most complex phenomena at scale. Using sophisticated computer models, Biocomplexity researchers can simulate entire populations and use these tools to grasp how hundreds of systems influence one another.  The Biocomplexity Institute (the Institute) is organized to reflect the shape of these complex problems, set in the context of both traditional and non-traditional sponsors.

Since September 2018, the Biocomplexity Institute has accomplished the task of establishing a comprehensive and novel research organization that complements, supports, and extends the University’s research mission as outlined in the Strategic Plan for 2030.  The Institute is organized to anticipate, recognize and respond to new and existing challenges embodied in some of the most complex problems facing society today: Resiliency, Disasters, and Sustainability; Innovations in the 2030 Census, a Curated Data Enterprise (CDE); Alert Systems for Pathogen Mutations; and Pandemic Planning and Response, providing insights into contagion science by developing advanced computing, modeling, simulation tools and capabilities.

To date, the Institute has grown to 134 research and tenured faculty (32), professional research staff and post-doctoral associates (30), graduate and undergraduate students (39) and executive and administrative staff (33). The Institute has received more than 135 awards totaling over $60.25 million, and published over 509 articles, pre-prints, book chapters and technical reports.  By all accounts, the Institute has successfully established our presence, developed novel programs atypical of traditional academic organizational structures, and demonstrated value to the university, our sponsors and our students. Although the range and scope of the work and our scientists is broad, both need to be increased and broadened to ensure a sustainable research position.

Planning forward for the next 5-year period of FY 2023-2027, the Institute will turn its attention to solidifying its future within the UVA academic and research community by pursuing significant major gifts, grants and contracts, federal and state support that will define the future of the Institute as an adaptive research organization in a rapidly evolving world.  Associated growth poses challenges that we must meet.

Current Status: Active