IDSC Grants Programs

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IDSC Grants Programs

IDSC is committed to promoting data science to enhance data science understanding within the University’s research community. We offer three grant programs by which UM researchers can engage in data science. Program descriptions and instructions on how to apply are detailed below.

Expanding the Use of Collaborative Data Science at UM  

This program is designed to increase the use of data science to foster breakthroughs in disciplinary pursuits making the research team more competitive for external funding. Applications are required to include at least one data scientist (from IDSC) and one researcher from a specific discipline. Typically, the disciplinary researcher initiates and leads the project. The awards include $20K discretionary funds[1] that can be applied to salary and travel, and 1M Service Units (SUs) to be used for high-performance computing (HPC). It is anticipated that five awards will be made.

For the 2021-22 academic year, IDSC is particularly interested in proposals in two focus areas:

  1. The use of data science to understand social and behavioral processes, such as machine learning of human action or novel analyses of social networks. This focus area includes proposals aimed at understanding the impact of data science on social processes, such as applications of facial identification technology in the criminal justice system.
  2. Understanding the intersection of ethics and data science, i.e.:
    (a) The role of data science in reducing, eliminating, or managing bias and discrimination;
    (b) Software engineering standards and processes in supporting adherence to the duties of explainability and privacy protection; or
    (c) Innovative governance and other approaches to using data science to reduce social injustice in focused/specific domains.

While these two focus areas are emphasized in this call for proposals, submissions in other areas of data science will also be considered.

The application process includes two steps and a final report presented as an IDSC seminar.

Step 1:  The disciplinary researcher provides a one-page letter of intent to IDSC outlining the discipline-specific research and where data science fits in. Based on the letter of intent, the IDSC review team will identify an IDSC data scientist for the collaboration, if the research team has not already identified an IDSC partner. Deadline: 5:00 PM, Friday, September 10, 2021. [[Submit Letter Here.]]  NOW CLOSED

Step 2: [UPON INVITATION] The research team (including the IDSC data scientist) will prepare a two-page proposal that outlines the research and the data science plan. The proposal should also include a short discussion of potential external funding mechanisms that the proposed work can be used to enhance the competitive position of the research team, and a budget plan on how the funds will be utilized. The research team will have one month from the letter of intent to submit the two-page proposal. Deadline: 5:00PM, Friday, November 19, 2021. [[Submit Proposal Here.]]  NOW CLOSED


Upon completion of the project, the research team will be required to give an oral presentation describing the research and results as part of the IDSC seminar series. Scheduling of the oral presentation will be coordinated by IDSC.

Review Process

The applications will be reviewed by an evaluation committee to determine feasibility, relevance to IDSC programs, and in terms of how the proposed research will put the team in a more competitive position for external funding.

Important Information and Deadlines

  • Step 1 – Letters of Intent:  Due by 5:00 PM, Friday, September 10, 2021  
  • Invitation to submit full proposal (Step 2) with identification of an IDSC data scientist partner (if applicable): Friday, September 24, 2021.
  • Step 2 – Two-page Proposal: Due by 5:00 PM, Friday, November 19, 2021
  • Notice of Award:  On or before Wednesday, December 15, 2021
  • Project performance period:  January 1-December 31, 2022
  • Service Units (SU) expire January 31, 2023


Access to IDSC Resources for Early Career Researchers 

The basic philosophy of the Early Career Researcher award is to allow the uninitiated an opportunity to explore the possibilities of data science and computing using IDSC resources to advance their research and educational goals. This is explicitly intended to not be used to service funded research projects. Rather, it is intended to introduce individuals to the possibility of using data science and computing in their research or educational programs. The grant includes 90K SUs and access to IDSC computational resources for one year. These grants are renewable for one additional year with a second application. The application includes a one-paragraph discussion of what the user intends to do with the SUsApply Now


Bridge Awards for Degree and Program Continuity 

IDSC recognizes that there may be situations where project funding has ending, but the components of the research need to continue until additional funding can be captured. IDSC also recognizes that students may be relying on IDSC resources to complete degree programs when project funding has ended. In both of these cases, IDSC will consider grants to complete these projects. These bridge grants are evaluated on a case-by-case bases, and the researcher is asked to reach out to IDSC to initiate the process.  Submit A Request


[1] Discretionary funds can be used for salary and travel only. Equipment or supplies purchases are not allowed.