ICSR Seed Fund Call for Proposals

Spring 2023
Application deadline: April 15, 2023

The IDSS/SSRC Combatting Systemic Racism Seed Fund Program supports innovative, early-stage cross-disciplinary research projects with a focus on combatting systemic racism. Through these grants, IDSS and SSRC seek to encourage researchers from across MIT to collaborate in bringing together new ideas from information and decision systems; data sciences and statistics; and the social sciences to identify and overcome racially discriminatory processes and outcomes across a range of U.S. institutions and policy domains. Proposals addressing a broad range of systemic racism challenges are eligible, including but not limited to housing, healthcare, policing and education.

Each proposal should have at least two faculty PIs from two different schools.  Each seed fund should support a graduate student or postdoc whose research directly relates to the proposal topic, and should serve as a stimulus to generate additional external funding to support further research and collaborations.


It is anticipated that 2-3 awards will be made for up to $75,000 each for one year to fund student costs. Proposals submitted but not funded in this round may be resubmitted for consideration in the next round of seed grants, approximately one year from now.


April 15, 2023: Seed fund grant application deadline

May 15, 2023: Announcement of grant awards

June 1, 2023: Start date for seed fund projects


This seed fund program is open to all who, at the start of funding, are MIT faculty or members of the research staff with principal investigator privileges. No researcher may be listed as PI on more than one proposal submitted in any given funding round.


The review criteria will emphasize the importance of the scientific problem, novelty of the ideas, and potential impact of the work. The promise of opportunities for long-term funding to continue the research project beyond the seed fund period will also be considered. Review of the proposals will be conducted by experts in the field in conjunction with IDSS/SSRC leadership and members of the ICSR Steering Committee to ensure both high quality as well as compatibility with program goals and ongoing activities.


Applications must be submitted using the format outlined below.

Please do not exceed three pages of text (1-inch margins, single-spaced, and no font smaller than 11); additional pages for budget allowed.

Abstract (150-200 words)

Provide a brief description of the project goals and the problem the research is seeking to address that can be shared in descriptions of this seed fund program on the IDSS and SSRC websites, in written documents, and with external entities that may be interested in supporting the research beyond seed funding.

Project Description (approximately 2 pages)

Describe the opportunity and approach. The project description should include the name of the student or postdoc to be funded, objectives for the period of work and expected significance, and the proposed activity’s relation to longer‐term goals of the project. Describe how this piece of work complements other work on campus and how the work combines analytical methods with the method and approaches of social sciences.

Research Team and Collaborations

List the names and titles of members of the research team and describe their roles in the project.

Resources and Budget

Describe the approximate resources (student/postdoc to be funded, materials, software, etc.) required to complete the project. Most of the funds should be used toward student stipend and tuition and/or postdoc salary costs. These funds will be free of overhead.

Submission Instructions

Please submit the proposal to idss-grants@mit.edu by April 15, 2023.

It is not necessary to route these proposals through RAS.

Reporting and Activities

PI(s) will be asked to present on project activities, highlighting:

  • Research projects underway
  • Actual or anticipated papers published, conference talks, etc.
  • Plans for future activities related to the seed fund
  • Prospects for additional funding resulting from the seed fund

PI(s) may be invited to join meetings, academic talks, and discussions with potential sponsors at MIT related to the Initiative on Combatting Systemic Racism.

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