The DSI Seed Funds Program supports research collaborations between data scientists and domain experts.

Proposal Deadline: Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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Program Goals

The DSI Seed Funds Program supports new collaborations with the goal of developing longer term and deeper interdisciplinary relationships among faculty at Columbia. The program aims to advance research that combines data science expertise with domain expertise. 

Seed fund proposals should embody the spirit of DSI’s mission, and address the technical strengths needed to create more fair and ethical use of data. Proposals that align with one or more of DSI’s focus areas are preferred.

Proposals should represent new collaborations, which have the potential to lead to future funding opportunities with government, industry, or foundations. DSI Seed Funds should be viewed as planning grants for upcoming solicitations from DARPA, NIH, NSF, and others. 

Proposal Process

Proposal Deadline: Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Please submit the below materials using the submission form. Unfortunately, we cannot accept incomplete or late submissions. The form will require the below materials:

  • Contact Information for all PIs and Collaborators
  • Project Proposal (five-page maximum, single spaced, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman)
  • Explicit statement on how the project will uphold DSI’s commitment to racial equity and justice
  • Budget with narrative
  • CVs for faculty / collaborators (two-page, NSF-style format)

We anticipate notifying award recipients by early January 2023.

Funding and Terms

DSI provides two levels of funding. Proposals should indicate which level of funding is being requested.

Funding Level Details
$25,000 (Maximum of 2 Years) Intended for projects where significant salary support of Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, or research scientists is not needed.
$75,000 (Maximum of 2 Years) Proposed budget may include salary expenses for research support staff.

Seed Grant Terms (Both Levels)

  • Awardees will be required to submit quarterly financial reviews and biannual progress reports. 
  • Eligibility for Year 2-continued funding is determined after review of the first year progress report. 
  • Progress reports must include details on external funding proposal submission(s) and other related activities (presentations,publications, etc.).

Additional Avenues for Support:

Proposed budgets are encouraged to request support from 1) DSI Research Scientists and Scholars; and 2) Columbia’s Bridge to the Ph.D. Program in STEM:

  • DSI Research Scientists and Scholars represent a wide range of expertise, from the foundations of data science to domains where data science is heavily used. Collaborating with a DSI research scientist or scholar may accelerate your research project.

  • The Bridge to the Ph.D. Program in STEM is a structured, post-baccalaureate opportunity aimed to diversify the STEM professoriate and workforce. By including one of their scholars as part of your DSI Seed Funds research proposal, you contribute towards increasing pathways for underrepresented students to advance in STEM disciplines. The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement covers 70% of the scholar’s salary and fringe, with 30% (~$17K) expected from the sponsoring principal investigator (PI). Your DSI Seed Funds budget is eligible to cover the PI’s expected cost for sponsoring a scholar.

Statement on Racial Equity

DSI is committed to racial equity and justice. Proposals should explicitly state that the project will uphold these values, e.g., stating that the methods used to collect and analyze project data, and the project outcomes reported are fair, just, and ethical.

Criteria for Proposal

Seed fund determinations will be assessed based on the criteria below. Please consider addressing these questions in your proposal.

  1. Why is the proposed project novel? Additionally, describe the novelty of the collaboration in terms of people, disciplines, and/or schools. Contrast to prior work is recommended.
  2. Why is seed funding essential to the success of this project?
  3. How is the project necessarily inter-/multi-disciplinary?
  4. What is the intended follow-up for this project to obtain future funds, especially plans to submit to large-scale funding opportunities?
  5. Describe the project’s adherence to DSI’s commitment to racial equity and justice.

All projects must be relevant to advancing and/or applying data science as a field.

Questions can be directed to; or Radhika Patel, Chief Operating Officer at The Data Science Institute.

Apply Here