Seed Grants

The primary applicant must be faculty or research staff (P&A) at the University of Minnesota. Adjunct faculty are not eligible for funding under this program.

DSI Seed Grant funds are intended to promote, catalyze, accelerate and advance UMN-based data science research so that UMN faculty and staff are well prepared to compete for longer term external funding opportunities. Proposals from all disciplines are encouraged to apply, with special consideration given to proposals that align with one or more of the five areas of the MnDRIVE initiative or the current DSI focus areas. 

The current DSI focus areas are:

  • Foundational Data Sciences: Foundational disciplines that underlie applied DS, including statistics, mathematics, data mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence, ethics, philosophy, and social and behavioral sciences.
  • Digital Health and Personalized Health Care Delivery: The broad scope of digital health includes categories such as mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine. It includes enhancements to patient healthcare and healthcare delivery through continuous, personalized, predictive, participative, and preventive approaches.

These grants are divided into three funding categories, Small, Medium, and Large. Application deadlines depend on the amount of funding requested. Details concerning proposal deadlines, duration, and funding levels are described below.

Small Seed Grants

  • Funding limit: Up to $10,000
    • An additional $5,000 is available for applications involving outreach or engagement (organizing workshops, seminars, conferences…)
  • Maximum proposal duration: 24 months
  • Application deadline: Feb. 15th, 2024 

 

Apply Now!

Medium or Large Seed Grants

  • Funding limit per application: $10,001 to $120,000
    • Note: For proposals requesting greater than $50,000, one quarter of the proposal budget must come from a source or sources other than the DSI, MnDRIVE, or the OVPR. In other words, DSI will contribute a maximum of $120,000 for a total project budget of $160,000. Cost sharing may be in the form of direct contributions to the proposed budget, in-kind contributions, or a combination thereof. Cost sharing from a sponsored project account may require written approval from the sponsor. In-kind contributions must provide a clear explanation for the basis of the in-kind valuation. Examples of in-kind contributions include; software developer time toward the creation of general data management tools.
  • Maximum proposal duration: 36 months
  • Application deadline: Applications for 2023 are now closed. Keep an eye out for the next application season in Fall 2024.

Large Seed Grant Required Application Materials

  • All of the material for the Medium Seed Grant application plus the following.
  • Cost sharing description (1-page max). List any in-kind contributions up to 25% of the total budget. Cost sharing may be in the form of direct contributions to the proposed budget, in-kind contributions*, or a combination thereof. Cost sharing from a sponsored project account may require written approval from the sponsor. In-kind contributions must provide a clear explanation for the basis of the in-kind valuation.
  • Collaboration plan (1-page max). Large seed grant proposals are encouraged to be multidisciplinary. The one page collaboration plan must include a description of how members from other departments, universities, or economic sectors are directly contributing to the proposed work.
  • A ‘broader impacts’ document (2-page max) will describe how the proposed research and development will benefit other researchers at the University of Minnesota or beyond. The ‘broader impacts’ document must include a description of data sets, software, workflows, or other artifacts that will come from the proposed research and development activities and explain why they are of value to researchers and scholars who are not part of the proposal team. The broader impacts document must also include a description of how these artifacts will be shared beyond the proposal team and what plan there is for sustaining these artifacts.

Medium Seed Grant Required Application Materials

  • A proposal written in single-spaced, 11-point Calibri or Arial font, with one-inch margins (4-page max, excluding references).
  • A budget with a justification section outlining proposed expenses and a description of why they are needed to support the proposed activities. If the proposal duration is more than 12 months, then a budget summary for each year of the proposal must be provided.
  • An explanation of what plans are being made by the investigator to sustain the support of the proposed research activities beyond the seed grant funding.
  • A simple biosketch for each investigator included in the proposal (any format). A standard format (such as NSF or NIH) is preferred, but not required.
  • A document listing the PIs Current & Pending (C&P) support, if applicable.

Small Seed Grant Required Application Materials

  • A proposal written in single-spaced, 11-point Calibri or Arial font, with one-inch margins (2-page max, excluding references).
  • A budget with a budget justification section outlining proposed expenses and a description of why they are needed to support the proposed activities. If the proposal duration is greater than 12 months, then a budget summary for each year of the proposal must be provided.
  • An explanation of what plans are being made by the investigator to sustain the support of the proposed research activities beyond the seed grant funding.
  • A document listing the PIs Current & Pending (C&P) support, if applicable.

Note on in-kind contributions

In-kind contributions may not include the salary equivalent of the effort that the faculty member or their collaborators expected to contribute to the proposed project.

In-kind matching for someone’s salary can only come from hiring someone who would not otherwise be able to participate in the proposed research if they were not paid from the proposed seed grant budget. Direct funding or a valuation of services funded from other sources other than DSI, MnDRIVE, or the OVPR may be included as contributions toward in-kind matching. 

Some examples of allowable matching contributions (funded by another source other than DSI, MnDRIVE, or the RIO):

  • Software developer, e.g., MSI or external provider
  • Research consultant from UMN service provider, e.g., Research Computing or IHI
  • Travel expenses, where travel is discussed in the project narrative and linked to the success of the seed grant
  • Dedicated data storage or computing costs from MSI or an external cloud provider
  • Fees to collect data required by the proposed project
  • One-time cost or subscription fee over the proposed work period to access relevant data
  • Graduate RAs salary, tuition, and benefits paid for by a federal, state, or private sponsor provided that sponsor is not DSI, MnDRIVE, or the RIO
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