Texas Tech University

Media & Communication Professor Part of New Cyberinfrastructure Center of Excellence

Amanda Bowman

July 27, 2021

Kerk Kee

Kerk Kee is a senior personnel member on the National Science Foundation-funded center.

In 2018, a team of researchers from institutions across the U.S. came together to launch a pilot program aimed at creating a model for a cyberinfrastructure (CI) center of excellence for the National Science Foundation's (NSF) major facilities (MFs), which are generally intended to serve the science community that is critical to supporting innovation across the nation. The goal was to identify how the center could serve as a forum for the exchange of cyberinfrastructure knowledge across varying fields and facilities, establish best practices for different NSF major facilities' cyberinfrastructure, provide CI expertise and address CI workforce development and sustainability.

Now, with a new NSF award, the pilot program has begun phase two and become CI Center of Excellence: CI Compass, an NSF Center of Excellence dedicated to navigating the major facilities' data lifecycle. CI Compass will apply its three years of initial evaluation and analyses for an improved cyberinfrastructure as needed for the NSF's major facilities.

Kerk Kee, an associate professor of professional communication in Texas Tech University's College of Media & Communication, is serving as a senior personnel member for the project.

“CI Compass will serve as the hub for knowledge sharing between and across NSF major facilities, and the broader cyberinfrastructure community, about technical solutions and best practices,” Kee said. “At the heart of knowledge sharing is the inter-organizational communication and cross-disciplinary collaborations that will lead to scientific discoveries and impactful innovations in our society.”

CI Compass will enhance the overall NSF CI ecosystem by providing expertise where needed to enhance and evolve the MF CI, capturing and disseminating CI knowledge and best practices that power MF scientific breakthroughs, and brokering connections to enable knowledge sharing between and across MF CI professionals and the broader CI community.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Kee's co-leadership of this important NSF project toward the exchange of cyberinfrastructure understanding across different disciplines and facilities,” said David Perlmutter, dean of the College of Media & Communication. “We live in a world interconnected at every scale, and this project advances a historical partnership between researchers in communication and all other parts of an information society.

The five other research institutions collaborating on CI Compass include the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Utah.

“This award is a perfect example of how communication scholars can contribute to the advancement of science and bridge many different disciplines,” said Glenn Cummins, associate dean for research and grants in the College of Media & Communication. “Dr. Kee has done a terrific job-seeking these types of opportunities and building collaborations both here at Texas Tech and at universities from around the world. I'm excited to see how Dr. Kee's contributions to this new Center of Excellence help continue to elevate Texas Tech's stature as a leading research university.”