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NCDS Data Fellows 2017-2018 CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Applications due April 7, 2017

The National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS) is a public/private collaboration to help the U.S. take full advantage of the promise of the big data revolution through new jobs and companies, better healthcare, data-driven discoveries in science, and competitive advantages for industry. The consortium launched in 2013 as an initiative of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI). The NCDS has a national scope, although most members at this time are North Carolina-based universities and companies with major presences in North Carolina. Go to datascienceconsortium.org to learn more.

The NCDS Data Fellows Program provides faculty members from NCDS academic partner institutions the opportunity to receive funding to help support research on novel and innovative data science and data-focused business problems. The program is open to faculty researchers in all academic disciplines and domains. In an effort to promote research initiatives that align with the mission and goals of the NCDS, a list of possible research topics has been included in this call.

ELIGIBILITY: This program is offered to faculty of current NCDS member academic institutions. Preference will be given to early-career faculty members who are within five years of their first tenure-track/tenured faculty appointments. NCDS member institutions include universities in the University of North Carolina System and Drexel University. Fellowships are expected to last one year, with a brief project report due six months into the project (December 2017) and at the end (June 2018). All Fellows will be expected to be actively involved in NCDS activities during the year, including a kickoff workshop planned for September 2017.

FINANCIAL STIPEND: Up to $30,000 per award, with two awards this year. Facilities and administrative expenses (i.e., “overhead”) will not be supported under this program. The one-year fellowship will begin on approximately July 3, 2017.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Faculty members interested in the program should submit proposals by April 7, 2017. Proposals should be no more than four (4) pages. Documents should be in a 10 or 12-point font with one-inch margins. The proposal should be understandable to readers from outside the field of study and must clearly spell out the expected benefits of collaborating with the NCDS. Proposals should be submitted using the form on the NCDS website.


  1. Project description. A clear and detailed statement describing the focus of the proposed work, the problem addressed by the work, any current external sources of funding, and proposed plans for the project during the appointment time, including specific milestones and expected outcomes/deliverables. As appropriate, this description should clearly describe how the proposed research will address one of the data science topic areas identified by our members (see below), and should explain how the work will advance the NCDS vision for a new, systematic data science. If the proposed work is not related to one of the identified topic areas, the project description should clearly state why the work is novel or innovative and therefore should be considered for support.
  2. If applicable, applicants should articulate how they might work collaboratively with other NCDS members, particularly non-academic partners, during their Fellowship and in the future.
  3. Summary of present activity. Include a short discussion of your recent and current projects and their relevance to the proposed effort.
  4. Include a description of the plan for the continuation of the work beyond the term of the Fellowship, including future external funding opportunities.
  5. Biographical sketch. A biographical sketch (not to exceed one page) is required and should be included as an addendum to the 4-page proposal.
  6. Relevant Publications. A short list of up to 5 publications relevant to the proposed work.
  7. A one-page budget detailing how the funding might be utilized should be included as an addendum to the proposal.

SUGGESTED PROJECT TOPICS: To encourage interaction with the Consortium, members have identified these research areas as ones of particular interest.

  • Synthetic data & anonymization techniques
  • Data science implications of the Internet of Things
  • Data science demands and workforce development, certification, and training
  • Data and risk mitigation
  • Machine learning and data mining
  • Security, cybersecurity, IoT security, identity, authentication, and privacy
  • Cloud and data center evolution
  • Business analytics
  • Data and ethics
  • Data curation

Submissions which do not address one of the above topics will be considered, although they will be expected to address a particularly novel or innovative data science question.

SELECTION: A committee comprised of NCDS members will use the following criteria to evaluate proposals and select award recipients:

  1. Relevance to one of the suggested research areas.
  2. Use of innovative data science techniques or approaches that challenge the status quo.
  3. Preference will be given to projects with a strong likelihood of securing longer term, externally-funded support.
  4. Preference will be given to proposals that show a strong possibility of collaboration with NCDS members following the conclusion of the Fellowship term.
  5. Projects should have concrete deliverables and products such as prototypes, models, methods, or applications that can be deployed.
  6. Projects that cross disciplines and involve cooperation among diverse experts and disciplines are encouraged.

NOTIFICATION: All those who submit proposals will be notified of their status by April 21, 2017. Awardees will be expected to present a prospective outline of their research plans, a mid-year status report, and an end of term summary.

QUESTIONS: For questions, clarifications, or any other additional information about this program, please email Shannon McKeen, Shannon_McKeen@kenan-flagler.unc.edu, or Sarah Davis, sdavis@renci.org, 919-445-9638.


  • e.g., Assistant Professor

  • Paste your project description here or upload a Word file or PDF below (max 8mb)