Provost Ignition Grants

Data Science Interdisciplinary ROADS Grant – Provost Ignition Funding Opportunity

     The Data Science Institute at Columbia University is a world-leading institution in research and education in the theory and practice of the emerging field of data science by advancing technology to unlock the power of global data to help solve some of society’s most challenging problems.  We are developing the tools and talent needed to monitor and protect the critical infrastructure we depend upon, improve societal health and patient care, enhance communication and interactions within communities, predict financial failures, and keep personal data safe. 

     Equally important to this mission is supporting and encouraging interdisciplinary research between faculty from different backgrounds.  The Institute aims to help forge closer relationships between faculty interested in data science and its applications across all domains, and to attract graduate students who want to do work within the intersection of data science and established domains. We have sponsored, and will continue to sponsor, events that have brought people together to meet and learn from each other. To further our goal of supporting data-centric interdisciplinary research, we are soliciting proposals for funds that will encourage faculty to work together on initial collaborations, helping to prepare them for proposal submissions to government, industry or foundations.

     The Institute is pleased to announce a call for proposals from Columbia University faculty and research staff.  Aimed at advancing research that combines data science expertise with domain expertise, the ROADS Provost Ignition grant is intended to assist researchers who are interested in this theme to come together. We are particularly drawn to faculty teams whose proposed project will enable them to develop successful proposals for large scale grants.  We will look for applications that propose unique and novel approaches to bring scholars together to work on projects that cross traditional discipline boundaries. In essence, we are looking for methods that are not just "business as usual."

To post to our site to indicate that you are interested in working on a proposal and finding a collaborator, please click here.

To find collaborators who may be interested in working with you on a proposal, please click here.


Funding is available for two projects, up to $100,000 annually, for a maximum of two years. As a condition of funding, awardees will be required to submit biannual progress reports. Eligibility for continued funding for a 2nd year, will also require a final report. All project reports must include progress on external funding proposal submission(s).

Proposal Submission Deadline:   

Monday, February 16th, 2015, 4:00 PM.  (Neither incomplete nor late applications will be accepted).

Award notifications will be made by April 1st, 2015.

Proposal Format:

Submit the following materials via email, in .doc or .pdf format, to Jonathan Stark, Director of Operations,, by the Monday, February 16th, 2015, 4:00 PM deadline:

Questions about this opportunity may also be addressed by contacting Jonathan Stark,, (212) 854-6370.


ROADS 2014 Grant Submission Winners

Group 1

PI's and Collaborators:

First Name
Last Name
Zoltan Haiman Professor Astronomy
Joshua Peek Postdoctoral Fellow Astronomy
Daniel Hsu Assistant Professor Computer Science
Shree Nayar T.C. Chang Professor Computer Science

Title: Learning the Nature of Dark Energy from Weak Gravitational Lensing with Computer Vision and Machine Learning

Group 2

PI's and Collaborators:

First Name
Last Name
Valeria Purdie-Vaughns Assistant Professor Psychology
Smaranda Muresan Research Scientist CCLS

Title: Reducing Racial and Gender Achievement Gaps in STEM: Use of Natural Language Processing to Understand Why Affirmation Interventions Improve Performance

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