NCSA’s Donna Cox wins 2018 Innovation Transfer Award

03.30.18 -

NCSA’s Dr. Donna Cox was named a recipient of the 2018 Innovation Transfer Award, presented at the 13th Annual Innovation Celebration on Thursday, March 29, 2018. This award, presented by the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the University of Illinois, Parkland College and other community sponsors, is given to a University of Illinois researcher "whose research has resulted in either a discovery or a work with the potential for significant societal impact."

Throughout her time at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Cox has led the Center's Advanced Visualization Lab (AVL), which works to bridge the gap between science and the arts as they take massive data sets and transform them into digestible and stunning visual representations. This has included visualizations for feature films, exhibits for museums, IMAX clips and visual models of some of the most complex data collected by humans, both terrestrial and cosmic.

"This award is very important to NCSA's Advanced Visualization Lab because it recognizes the broad impact that our outreach visualizations are having around the world," said Cox. "We digitally design numerical data into compelling imagery with science teams and then work with external directors to educate the public on socially relevant research."

Dr. Cox's endeavors at NCSA are two-fold—she and her AVL team are responsible for both creating these intricate visualizations and identifying the most impactful avenue to disseminate the information. AVL's latest work, Seeing the Beginning of Time (available to stream on Amazon), is a collaboration between the AVL team and the Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration focused on cosmic matter.

"In every step of our collaborations we focus on best practices to communicate and reach as many people as possible with compelling visualizations and stories," said Cox.

In addition to being the recipient of this award, Dr. Cox is also the Michael Aiken Chair and Director of NCSA's Research & Education division as well as the eDream Institute. In conjunction with her work at NCSA, Dr. Cox is also a professor in the School of Art & Design and researches the art of scientific data visualization. In 2006, The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry selected her as one of 40 "modern-day Leonardos" in their "Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius" exhibit for her acumen in both science and art.

About NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

About the Innovation Celebration

Innovation Celebration provides recognition of those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University's economic development mission, and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in our community.