June 10, 2009 - Northern Kentucky University has broken ground on a new $55 million high-tech Center for Informatics that will house the new College of Informatics, which combines all information-related disciplines under one college.

The center will feature a computer-assisted virtual environment for businesses to use for product development and a Digitorium that can double as a Network Operations Center for private and government sectors.

The Kentucky legislature approved $35.5 million for the new center, with the remainder being funded by a mix of grants and private, government and corporate funding. The center is a key strategy for the region's 2015 goal to create 50,000 new jobs.

Informatics has many definitions but generally refers to a field of study that applies information systems and technology to a variety of social and business pursuits.

NKU Dean of Informatics Dr. Douglas Perry explained in a statement, "Informatics is the digital intersection of the arts, sciences and professions, where digital tools are used to extend these fields and bring them together. Informatics achieves this by developing and applying the theories and technologies of computation, information, and communication to new situations and environments."

Institutions including Indiana University and the University of Washington also offer informatics programs. Other programs specializing in health care informatics are offered in masters programs at several schools including Northwestern University and UC Davis.

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