The School of Arts and Sciences’ Data Driven Discovery Initiative is pleased to announce the 2022 Call for Proposals for the Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) seed grants.

Data Science for Social Good projects may address any societal challenge that affects the well-being of a large number of people, including but not limited to: health, public safety, justice, clean air and water, education, employment, transit, and political representation. We hope to fund several projects focusing on Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, but projects beyond the region, including national and global issues, are also welcome and encouraged. The ideal project should blend the development or use of innovative data science methods, the advancement of scholarship within or across disciplines, and progress in addressing a societal challenge.

Proposals from SAS Standing Faculty

Members of the SAS standing faculty are eligible to submit proposals, but faculty from other schools may play a major role in the projects as well. We support a range of funding requests, but typical grants range from $20,000 – $50,000 for a duration of one to two years. Proposals with especially high impact or particularly complex projects and teams can request funding outside of this range, but we recommend first checking with the initiative’s contacts listed below.

Joint SAS/SEAS Proposals

The seed grant program also aims to spur collaboration specifically between faculty and students in SAS and SEAS to develop and apply data science methods for social good. The School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Arts & Science will partner to sponsor joint projects with at least one faculty member from SAS and at least one faculty member from SEAS.

Joint SAS/Wharton Proposals

We are also interested in spurring collaborations between faculty and students in SAS and Wharton to develop and apply data science methods for social good. The Wharton School and the School of Arts & Science will partner to sponsor joint projects with at least one faculty member from SAS and at least one faculty member from Wharton.

Proposal Process

Grants may support

  • Post-docs, research staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. The typical grant would support students over the summer months
  • Costs associated with data acquisition
  • Equipment expenses, including costs for specialized computing not normally available at Penn
  • Travel

Application contents

  • Written proposal that ideally includes a project summary, goals, timeframe, plan for evaluation, and plan for the involvement of students (max 2 single space pages)
  • Signed letters of support from appropriate partnering organizations (if partnering with an outside entity like a government agency)
  • CVs from faculty project directors
  • Project budget

Grant process

  • The application deadline for the first round of DSSG seed grants is January 15, 2023
  • Members of the DDD executive committee and appropriate additional faculty as needed will review and rank the proposals
  • Award notifications will be made in early February
  • Funds will be available as soon as the award is made based on budget requirements
  • A short (1-2 page) summary report that describes the activities supported by the grant, due one year after the receipt of project funds

Submit proposals to the DSSG submission page.

Expressions of interest and general proposal questions may be sent to ddd-info@sas.upenn.edu.