MIT IDSS – Call for 2017 Seed Funding Proposals

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society Seed Fund Program – Spring 2017

Application deadline: Monday, March 27, 2017

IDSS’s Seed Fund Program supports innovative, early-stage research projects with focus on societal challenges. Through the grants, IDSS seeks to encourage researchers from across MIT to collaborate in exploring new ideas at the interface of information and decision systems, data sciences and statistics, and social sciences to address societal problems in energy and environmental systems, urban sciences, social phenomena, financial systems, and health analytics and to open up new avenues for interdisciplinary research that brings together the full range of Institute capabilities. Proposals addressing a broad range of societal challenges are eligible.

Each proposal should:

  • Have at least two faculty PIs from two different schools
  • Support newly admitted IDSS SES PhD students who will work with the PIs on the project
  • Provide a venue for generating additional external funding to support further collaborations.

It is anticipated that awards will be made for up to $75,000 for one year (sufficient to support a student for one year). PIs may apply for up to a second year of funding for the same student and research proposal. 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.


January 30, 2017 – RFP for seed fund proposals sent to PIs

March 17, 2017 – SES Visit Day

March 27, 2017 – Seed fund grant application deadline

April 7, 2017 – Announcement of grant awards

September 1, 2017 – Start date for seed fund projects

The IDSS 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 two proposals submitted in any given funding round.

Applications must be submitted using the below application form. All applications are limited to three pages with (1-inch margins and no font smaller than 11). Review of the proposals will be conducted by experts in the field in conjunction with IDSS Leadership to ensure both high quality as well as compatibility with program goals and ongoing activities. It is not necessary to route these proposals through OSP.

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 of performance will also be considered.

Proposal Requirements
Please do not exceed three pages of text; additional pages for budget allowed.

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

Project Description
Describe the opportunity and approach. The project description should include the name of the student 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. Collaborations are not required, but multidisciplinary projects are encouraged.

Resources and Budget
Describe the approximate resources (student to be funded, equipment, materials) required to complete the project. These funds will be free of overhead.

Please submit the proposal to by March 27, 2017.


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