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These are first 6 projects of the Delaware Data Innovation Lab

The CompassRed-led COVID-19 relief initiative launched this week. Here's what's in the works.

A data tool for the hospitality industry is among the projects launched by the DDIL. (Photo by Pexels user Pavel Danilyuk, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Delaware Data Innovation Lab (DDIL), a CARES Act-funded project led by Wilmington data science company CompassRed, had its virtual launch on Dec. 1 from its new home at CSC Station.

The $2 million grant “recognizes the tremendous potential of data innovations to create jobs, stimulate the economy and build on the existing regional strengths we have already in the analytics space,” said Patrick Callahan, CEO of CompassRed. The goal is to use data analytics to develop new technologies and ways to help counter the impact of COVID-19 on communities.

With its partners, including the University of Delaware and ChristianaCare, the DDIL laid out five points of focus as the project, which is intended to become a standalone initiative supported by partner initiatives over the long term, gets off the ground as a COVID-19 relief project.

And heads up — if you have a COVID-related problem that needs to be solved, you can submit it to the Lab at

FAFSA Data Dashboard

  • Team: Talla Cisse and Rakhi Agrawal
  • Partner: TeenSHARP

With college counseling impacted by COVID-19, some upcoming college students are unaware of the importance of filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) the year before starting college. When a FAFSA form isn’t completed before the deadline, students — especially low-income students who may qualify for Pell Grants and other grants that fully cover their tuition — lose out on money for college that they may not know is available to them.

The FAFSA Data Dashboard will allow public schools in Delaware to see their FAFSA completion rates and compare them to previous years, as well as to other schools in the area.

Hospitality sentiment tracker

  • Team: Jeff Headley, Brenda Hali, Steven Reiss
  • Partner: UD’s Lerner Business & Economics College 

This tool will use online review data from different regions of the country to track sentiments on travel and safety, helping restaurants and hotels get insights on what customers are looking for in a hospitality business during COVID-19.

Virtual reality meeting space

  • Team: Ben Kates, Eugene Olkhov, Daniel Barlow
  • Partner: ChristianaCare

Virtual meeting has become a part of many people’s day-to-day lives during the pandemic, but it can be challenging to make data-driven decisions in a traditional virtual format.

This project is to develop a virtual reality and augmented reality meeting room where COVID-related stories can be shared, connecting the movements of people to COVID cases.

Evictions data journal

  • Team: Meagan Brackeen, Héctor Maldonado-Reis

In an effort to keep track of evictions that have been during the pandemic despite state and federal eviction bans, the eviction data journal will keep track of eviction filings in New Castle County and work to connect those tenants to tenant advocacy organizations.

City indicators live dashboard

  • Team: Sara Gormley, Sai Shreshta Naskanti
  • Partners: Wilmington Alliance, Healthy Communities Delaware, ChristianaCare, University of Delaware

To get a clear picture of the areas most affected by COVID in the city of Wilmington, this live dashboard will track relative social and economic indicators that are continuously updated.

Gormley recently completed Code for Philly’s tech training fellowship, focusing on project management.

Interactive wastewater dashboard

  • Team: Janie Truitt, Ben Kates, Aru Deshmukh, Jasmine Pham
  • Partners: New Castle County, University of Delaware

Much of the data we rely on to track COVID could lag by days or even weeks. By analyzing wastewater data, researchers can follow viral trends more quickly and better predict where resources will be needed.

Companies: TeenSHARP / Wilmington Alliance / New Castle Country / CompassRed / ChristianaCare / University of Delaware
Series: Coronavirus

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