CHIME in Illinois

FAQ for Project Proposers

What is CHI?

The Center for Health Informatics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a multidisciplinary center focusing on the use of data to improve health. The center’s more than 30 faculty members come from nine colleges across campus. We have been working with WHO/PAHO since 2011, and in September 2019 CHI was formally designated by WHO/PAHO as the Collaborating Center on Information Systems for Health.

What kind of projects can we propose?

Projects should be directly related to COVID-19 and are expected to have an operational impact. Examples could include analysis of social media discussions, epidemiology data visualization and mapping, data cleaning and management, data integration, and basic modeling.

How much will it cost?

There is no monetary cost to the projects. We request that CHIME in Illinois be credited as a partner in the project.

How long will projects last?

Since these projects are intended to support the operational and decision-making needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, projects will be completed as quickly as possible. In practice this will typically mean anywhere from a week to a couple of months, depending on complexity.

Can I submit multiple projects?

Yes. You may submit multiple projects, but we ask you to prioritize them.

How will projects be chosen and prioritized?

Projects will be chosen and prioritized based on need, impact, and the availability of volunteers with the necessary skills.

What project information do I need to provide?

Project proposals need to include a description of the project, the data available (if any), the preferred length of project, and the contact information for an organizational representative.

What data will I need to share?

Data sharing requirements will be the minimum required for successful completion of the project. Where possible, publicly available data will be used.

Will the data be secure?

Sensitive data will be kept on FERPA-compliant systems. If individual-level identifiable personal health information is required for the project, we will establish protocols before any data is shared.

Will the team be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)?

All team members will be required to sign an agreement committing to keep data private and controlling release of information about projects. A formal NDA can be required if necessary.

How big will the teams be?

Teams will typically be three to five people, with faculty oversight, and an organizational representative.

How will the team be picked?

Teams will be picked based on available volunteers, their skillsets, and professional experience.

What kind of students will be on the team?

Teams will be assembled from a mix of undergraduate, masters, and PhD students with the combined skills needed to complete the project. They are likely to come from multiple units on campus, including computer science, information science, applied health sciences, veterinary medicine, and many others.

What will be the background and experience of the students working on our project?

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has approximately 51,000 students, including over 16,000 graduate students. This includes an international population of more than 12,000 students from over 100 countries. 

Many of our information management graduate students worked professionally in the software industry for companies like Oracle, Microsoft, and Google before returning to school, and it is common for both undergraduate computer science students to intern at similar companies.

Will there be faculty advisers?

Yes. Each project will have a faculty advisor who will be required to approve the final results.

How often will we need to meet with the team?

At a minimum the organizational representative will need to meet with the team for kickoff and final report meetings. Additional meetings will be as necessary to ensure on-time and successful completion of the project.

What are our responsibilities?

Successful projects will require the identification and participation of an organizational representative who will be available to answer occasional questions from the volunteer team.

How much of our time will projects take?

Your time will be required to define the project and deliverables, establish an NDA if required, share (although not necessarily clean) data, and answer questions that are necessary for the team to understand the project.

What do we get from participating?

You get the ability to expand your capacity to undertake data-related COVID-19 projects by using volunteers and faculty from a WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center at a world-renowned university.