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People to Watch: Patrick Callahan & Anne Clauss



Patrick Callahan & Anne Clauss
Delaware Data Innovation Lab

Patrick Callahan, founder of data analytics firm CompassRed, started dreaming big once New Castle County announced it would use $5 million of its federal CARES Act funds to innovative ideas in response to the pandemic. He saw it as an opportunity to replicate a program from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to make “a lasting impact and apply innovative thinking to real world problems.”

The eventual result was the Delaware Data Innovation Lab (DDIL), with $2 million from the county’s grant program and 12 dozen researchers, led by Anne Clauss. The goal is to unite industry, academia, nonprofits, and governments to work on common problems that rose from the pandemic.


Forthcoming projects include tracking New Castle County’s evictions to see if intervention efforts could prevent that; creating a dashboard for the county’s data on wastewater and traces of coronavirus; tracking online review data to analyse consumer confidence in travel and tourism; assessing health, social economic data for Wilmington residents, and more.

The grant funding will give the DDIL enough runway for the first quarter of 2021, but other private and nonprofit funding will be needed to continue its goals, including research to the tune of $5 million to $7 million a year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many societal and business problems like gasoline on a fire, and several state and economic leaders will be tasked to rebuild once it ends. Callahan and Clauss present a rare opportunity to marry both worlds to answer these issues in Delaware’s most populous county.


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