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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Harvard Engineering School Faculty Explorer

Winner in Data Visualization


Harvard’s Engineering School touts itself as one of the most collaborative, interdisciplinary schools in the country. But how do you visually communicate that idea?

The DataFace helped Harvard design and build the Faculty Explorer, a data platform that allows users to examine the connections and overlapping research interests among Harvard Engineering professors. Our goal was to offer a unique perspective on how faculty from various schools, teaching areas, and disciplines come together, fostering innovation and advancing research frontiers. It can be used by professors seeking their next collaborator; prospective students interested in applying to Harvard; or grad students looking for an advisor or mentor.

With four interactive visualizations, the platform aims to provide different ways of representing and exploring the data.

Strategy and Execution

To bring the Faculty Explorer to life, Harvard's team first assembled a dataset consisting of the faculty's self-reported research interests, publications, and collaborative projects. This involved close collaboration between Harvard's communications team, engineers, and faculty.

Once the data was collected, The DataFace stepped in to design a platform that was both informative and engaging. We decided on four key visualizations to represent the data: an arc diagram to show faculty collaborations, a matrix of research interests, a sankey diagram of interdisciplinary connections, and a radial viz to give a holistic overview.

We designed the platform over the course of several sprints, refining based on feedback from Harvard's comms team and administrators. It was built using cutting-edge Javascript libraries like D3.js and Svelte, to ensure smooth interactions and real-time data processing. We paid special attention to accessibility here, ensuring the user interface and interactive visualizations met  WCAG 2.1 standards and could reach a diverse audience.

Key features included:


The Faculty Explorer has been met with an enthusiastic reception from the Harvard community and beyond.

Key outcomes include:

Faculty members have reported greater visibility for their work, leading to new collaboration opportunities. Moreover, the platform has served as a valuable tool for prospective students and researchers to identify potential mentors and research groups aligned with their interests.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

The DataFace, Harvard Engineering School


Entry Credits