2020 Seed Fund Program


The Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub is no longer accepting applications for our 2021 Seed Fund Program. Applicants will be notified when their proposal has been evaluated.

Congratulations to our 2020 Seed Fund Awardees!

About the 2020 Seed Fund Program

The Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub Seed Fund program is designed to promote collaboration and support the cross-pollination of tools, data, and ideas across disciplines and sectors including academia, industry, government, and communities. Funding provided through this program is intended to support the northeast region and align with the Major Goals and Focus Areas of the Northeast Big Data Hub.

The Northeast Hub is pleased to invite applications for the 2021 Seed Fund Grant cycle. Applications must be submitted through the below linked form by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, October 1, 2021.

For more information about the seed fund grant program, scroll down or click through the navigation bar below. Contact contact@nebigdatahub.org with any questions.

2020 Seed Fund Navigation


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/impact across all Hub activities
  • Increase data science capacity and talent, emphasizing underserved communities

Learn more about Northeast Big Data Hub Focus Areas below.

Eligibility for the 2020 Seed Fund

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

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

2020 Seed Fund Award Information

The Seed Fund Steering Committee anticipates making approximately 12-15 seed grant awards, of up to $25,000 each.

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.

2020 Seed Fund Application Process

For consideration, all seed fund grant applications must include:

  1. Cover page:
    • PI name and institution
    • All names, roles, and institutions of project team
    • Northeast Hub focus areas (choose all that apply)
    • Scientific domain(s)
    • Expected start and end dates of the project’s use of funds (end date by May 31, 2021)
  2. Project description, including:
    • Goal and significance toward data science [up to 500 words]
    • What the project is seeding? What is the longitudinal future potential? [up to 100 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 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.
  3. Budget and budget justification:
    • Please attach a line-item breakdown of the funds requested and a brief description of their use as part of the application.
  4. Biography or CV:
    • Please attach a one page bio or 2 page CV for the PI as part of the application.
    • Optional: URLs to professional home page, LinkedIn, research page.

2020 Seed Fund Deadlines

Proposals will be considered with deadlines for two rounds of awards, and based on the availability of funds. Proposals submitted to the first round will receive decisions of award, no award, or remain in consideration for the second deadline.  Proposals with a negative decision on the first round are ineligible for resubmission in the second round. 

  • First Round Deadline: August 31, 2020
  • Second Round Deadline: October 1, 2020

2020 Seed Fund Review Process and 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

2020 Seed Fund Reporting Requirements

Awardees will be expected to provide an end-of-project report summarizing activities, outcomes, and achievements enabled. These reports will be made public on the Northeast Big Data Hub web site.
The Northeast Big Data Hub also plans to publish project descriptions and project team rosters from awarded projects on its web site.


Learn More About Our Focus Areas

View the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub’s website to learn more about our impact in regional focus areas, or view the information below if your interest lies in a particular focus area:

HEALTH: nebigdatahub.org/health-fa/

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

URBAN TO RURAL COMMUNITIES: nebigdatahub.org/urc-fa/

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.

RESPONSIBLE DATA SCIENCE: nebigdatahub.org/rds-fa/

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

EDUCATION + DATA LITERACY: nebigdatahub.org/edl-fa/

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, from PreK-12 to higher education and industry, 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