2021 Seed Fund Application

The Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub is no longer accepting applications for our 2021 Seed Fund Program. The below application information is to be used for reference only. Please email contact@nebigdatahub.org with any questions.

In 2020, the Northeast Hub awarded 19 Seed Fund grants out of 40 proposals.

  • Most popular focus areas were Health, and Education + Data Literacy
  • 36 of the proposals were from academic institutions and 4 were from non-profits.
  • 18 of the seed fund grants were awarded to academic institutions and 1 to a non-profit.

In 2021, the Northeast Hub awarded 7 Seed Fund grants out of 32 proposals.

  • Most popular focus areas were Education + Data Literacy and Health
  • 30 of the proposals were from academic institutions and 2 were from non-profits.
  • 6 of the seed fund grants were awarded to academic institutions and 1 to a non-profit.

2021 Seed Fund Program Application

The Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub is no longer accepting applications for our 2021 Seed Fund Program.

Applications must be submitted through the below linked form by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, October 1, 2021.

Note: This application is powered by Google Forms. You must log into a Google account to submit an application.
If you are unable to use Google Forms to apply, email contact@nebigdatahub.org for assistance.


Northeast Hub Goals

The Northeast Hub is a community convener, collaboration hub, and catalyst for data science innovation in the Northeast Region. The Hub amplifies successes of the community and shares credit across the community to encourage collaboration and mutual success in data science endeavors.

The goals of the Northeast Hub are to:

  • Build collaborations to address real-world challenges through translational data science approaches
  • Foster innovation and scale endeavors that reflect regional interests and align with national priorities related to data science
  • Support and promote representative community engagement and impact across all Hub activities
  • Increase data science capacity and talent, emphasizing underserved communities

Hub Focus Areas

Learn more about the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub’s four Focus Areas. All Seed Fund applications must align with at least one Focus Area.


The objective of this focus area is to work with the community to guide the development and dissemination of data science approaches and resources for education across the community, including Pre K-12 to higher education and adult learners in industry, government and nonprofits, with the goal to improve data literacy and educational outcomes. This includes:

  1. Amplifying the success and reach of data science education and data literacy activities, from virtual and in-person workshops to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), to empower educators and researchers to improve data science practices and reach a broad community
  2. Enabling community and educational institutions across the region to deliver data science education to underserved constituencies, extending the success of the Data Science for All workshops, and perhaps adding domain-specific data science and data carpentry workshops
  3. Increasing community collaboration to benefit from and contribute to the Big Data for Education Spoke best practices, including innovations in intelligent tutor pedagogy, and collaborative analyses of Big Data for Education MOOC data


The objective of this focus area is to help advance data sharing, acquisition, integration, analysis and resulting insights in the pursuit of improved public health and health outcomes. This includes:

  1. Enabling data sharing, acquisition and integration to develop knowledge and insight in the pursuit of improved health outcomes, including alternative health data sources such as environmental factors, social media and mobile health
  2. Supporting the development and deployment of advanced analytics, including causal discovery and reasoning, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in biomedicine and health care
  3. Enabling data science collaborations in the support of precision medicine, including advanced decision support leveraging data to deliver customized and personalized knowledge, insight and recommendations


The objective of this focus area is to develop recommendations and best practices for Responsible Data Science (RDS) by design, with security, privacy and ethical use of data and data science methods. This includes:

  1. Enabling the development and dissemination of responsible data science best practices, such as building and deploying of integrative data equity systems, incorporating ethical and legal norms in all stages of the data science life cycle, with security, privacy and ethics
  2. Engaging IEEE standards development activities for the TIPPSS framework – Trust, Identity, Privacy, Protection, Safety and Security – and its use in clinical Internet of Things, connected healthcare, and smart and connected communities
  3. Collaborating with cybersecurity researchers and domain scientists to determine their needs and challenges regarding trustworthy data, and data driven cybersecurity, privacy, and ethics


The objective of this focus area is to facilitate activities and collaborations focused on improving the understanding of data ecosystems in urban and rural environments, and the potential application of data analytics and responsible data science practices to benefit rural and urban communities, citizens, and the environment. This includes:

  1. Enabling acquisition and leverage of interoperable and accessible data sets for use across rural and urban communities, for data driven community and environmental planning and stewardship
  2. In collaboration with the Health focus area, determining the impact of urbanicity on health and other measures of well-being, for humans and their environment
  3. Creating data science innovations to envision and enable sustainable environments, including collaborations incorporating data science, environmental science, and geosciences broadly.

2021 Seed Fund Program Eligibility

Individuals or teams led by faculty, students, or individuals from academic institutions or other non-profits within the Northeastern United States, defined as Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Colleagues from historically black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, Hispanic-serving institutions and others from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Award Information

The Seed Fund Steering Committee anticipates making approximately 6-8 seed grant awards, of up to $25,000 each, inclusive of direct and indirect costs within the $25,000 total.

Examples of potential funded activities include:

  • Funding support for student internships
  • Faculty or student funding support
  • Access to data sets
  • Webinar facilitation

Note: Participant support travel is not allowed under current COVID restrictions. The maximum of $25,000 per award is inclusive of both direct and indirect costs from your institution. Check with your institutional administration to clarify your Indirect Cost Rate (ICR) and include it in your budget justification, not to exceed $25,000 in total.

The 2021 seed fund awards are expected to be used by May 31, 2022. No Cost Extensions may be requested in 2022 but are not guaranteed.

Application Process & Budget

For consideration, all seed fund grant applications must include:

  1. Basic Information:
    • PI name, title, institution, and CV
  2. Project Team:
    • All names, titles, and institutions of other project team members (as applicable)
  3. Application Cover Page & Proposal Description:
    • Title of proposal
    • Project description (up to 500 words)
    • Goal and significance toward data science (up to 500 words)
    • Scientific domains relevant to the proposal
    • Northeast Hub focus areas (choose all that apply)
    • What the project is seeding. What is the longitudinal future potential? [up to 500 words]
    • Intellectual Merit: what is unique and innovative? [up to 500 words]
    • Broader Impact: what is the impact to benefit society? [up to 500 words]
      • You may wish to refer to NSF’s guidance on Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts in composing this section. Of particular interest to the Northeast Hub’s Seed Fund Steering Committee is the impact for students, members of groups underrepresented in this field, education and data literacy, as well as resources for public benefit.
  4. Budget:
    • Please attach a line-item breakdown of the funds requested and a brief description of their use as part of the application. The total budget including both direct and indirect costs must be less than or equal to $25,000. Please confirm your Indirect Cost Rate (ICR) with your institution prior to submitting the draft budget.

Please email contact@nebigdatahub.org with any questions about your proposal or if you are unable to submit your proposal via Google Forms.


To be considered, all proposals must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, October 1, 2021. Proposals are evaluated based on adherence to the deadline and on availability of funds.

Please email contact@nebigdatahub.org with any questions about your proposal or if you are unable to submit your proposal via Google Forms.

Hub Review Process & Selection Criteria

The Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub Seed Fund Steering Committee (SFSC) will review seed fund proposals. The SFSC roster is available at: nebigdatahub.org/leadership/

Each proposal will be reviewed by 3 or more members of the SFSC with the following criteria:

  • Alignment with Hub mission, goals and focus areas including significance toward data science
  • Intellectual Merit
  • Broader Impact
  • Potential for award to seed an expected larger effort
  • Commitment / Ability to Execute

The SFSC will use NSF’s Conflicts of Interest policy during the review process: https://www.nsf.gov/policies/conflicts.jsp

Reporting Requirements

Awardees will be expected to provide an end-of-project report which summarizes the activities, outcomes, and achievements enabled by the project. These “Success Story” reports will be made public on the Northeast Big Data Hub website.

Still have questions? Feel free to email us at contact@nebigdatahub.org.