Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR): Data Science Corps (DSC)

In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a set of “Big Ideas,” 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering (see https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/index.jsp). The Big Ideas represent unique opportunities to position our Nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering leadership by bringing together diverse disciplinary perspectives to support convergence research. As such, when responding to this solicitation, even though proposals must be submitted to the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS) within the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), once received, the proposals will be managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF Program Directors.

NSF’s Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) Big Idea is a visionary, national-scale activity to enable new modes of data-driven discovery, allowing fundamentally new questions to be asked and answered in science and engineering frontiers, generating new knowledge and understanding, and accelerating discovery and innovation. The HDR vision is realized via a coordinated set of program solicitations resulting in an ecosystem of interrelated activities enabling (i) research in the foundations of data science; frameworks, algorithms, and systems for data science; and data-driven research in science and engineering; (ii) advanced cyberinfrastructure; and (iii) education and workforce development—all of which are designed to amplify the intrinsically multidisciplinary nature of the data science challenge. The HDR Big Idea will establish theoretical, technical, and ethical data science frameworks, and apply them to practical problems in science and engineering, and in society more generally.

The Data Science Corps is one of the components of the HDR ecosystem, focusing on building capacity for harnessing the data revolution at the local, state, national, and international levels to help unleash the power of data in the service of science and society. The Data Science Corps will provide practical experiences, teach new skills, and offer teaching opportunities, in a variety of settings, to data scientists and data science students. It will also strive to promote data literacy and provide basic training in data science to the existing workforce across communities.

As a first step in establishing the Data Science Corps, this solicitation focuses specifically on enabling participation by undergraduate students in the Data Science Corps, by supporting student stipends for participation in data science projects and supporting integration of real-world data science projects into classroom instruction.

Number of Applications
Amount of Funding

Up to $10,000,000 is expected to be available for eight to eleven awards, for 3 years each, subject to the availability of funds. Awards will typically be in the range of $1,000,000 to $1,200,000 for 3 years.


Applicants should consult with their Associate Deans for Research prior to internal submission to assure they meet eligibility criteria and to obtain approval.

An individual may participate in only one proposal as PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel. These eligibility constraints will be strictly enforced in order to treat everyone fairly and consistently. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, a proposal received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission (i.e., the first proposal received will be accepted and the remainder will be returned without review). No exceptions will be made.

Submission Process

Step 1

Internal deadline for letter of intent is no later than 5:00p.m. on December 17, 2018.

Please submit a single PDF file to Stephanie Endy at stephanie.endy@case.edu containing the following items:

  1. A one page cover letter including the following items - the PI's name, PI's department, PI's school or college, the draft title of the application, the names of any CWRU co-PIs, and a certification that none of the key personnel (PIs, co-PIs, or Senior Personnel) are participating in another proposal for the same program announcement.

  2. A project summary no longer than two pages including the following elements - an overview, intellectual merit, and broader impacts of the project.

Overview: A summary paragraph that briefly describes the project along with how the project intends to address the four additional specific review criteria for the program announcement.  These are:

  • Organizational diversity. Whether the proposal has ensured diversity among participating organizations, e.g., by reaching across many types of IHEs, including research universities, two- and four-year colleges, and MSIs.

  • Linkage to undergraduate curricula, internships and/or other placement programs. Whether there are clear linkages to existing or new undergraduate courses, as well as internship, traineeship, study aboard, and/or other relevant programs at institutions.

  • Current/prior experience in data science projects. Whether the proposing team has a demonstrated track record and prior experience with implementing data science projects in academia, industry, government, non-profit, and/or other relevant sectors, and the ability to clearly identify specific projects in such settings.

  • Connection to stakeholder communities. Whether the proposing team has demonstrated linkages with relevant stakeholders in industry, local/state/federal governments, non-profits, international organizations, and/or other sectors.

Intellectual Merit: A summary paragraph addressing the intellectual merits of the proposed activity; e.g., areas where the project will advance knowledge, goals of the proposed applied research, technical hurdles that will be addressed by the proposed research (which should be crucial for the success of the project).
Broader Impacts: A summary paragraph describes the expected broader societal, commercial and educational outcomes of the proposed project

  1. An NSF formatted biosketch for the PI

Step 2

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by December 21, 2018.

Step 3

Final proposal must be received by the Office of Research Administration by January 30, 2019 at 5:00pm EST.

Step 4

Final proposal must be received by the sponsor by February 2, 2019 at 5:00pm EST.


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
12/17/2018 12/21/2018 01/30/2019 02/04/2019 CLOSED