2022 Request for Transformative Proposals for Data & Society


We are no longer accepting submissions for this opportunity.


The Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society (“Institute”) aims to facilitate transformative, interdisciplinary research for societal impact that is domain-informed and driven by data science methodology and applications. The goal of this RFP is to help discover / define thematic foci areas for the next 3-5 years, of interest to a broader coalition of faculty on campus, for the Institute. The Institute held its inaugural symposium on October 27, 2021, and the following themes emerged through the breakout room discussions among the attendees at the Symposium. Examples of potential topics are:

  • Data Science for Tackling Health Inequities & Disparities
  • Innovating AI & the Future of Work
  • Internet Freedom: Fighting Misinformation & the Digital Divide
  • Imagining AI for Multi-Modal & Multi-Scale Applications in the Sciences
  • Convergence of Data Science Methods & Society
  • Human-Centered Data Science
  • Data Science & AI for Education

The proposals in response to this RFP should be domain informed and data-driven, interdisciplinary, lead to societal impact, and involve faculty from more than one discipline. We are looking for proposals that address “wicked problems.” 

An information and Q&A session was hosted via zoom on Thursday, January 27, 2022. Please email Katie Liu (kliu22@nd.edu) to request a copy of the slides or a link to the recording.

Frequently Asked Questions

Award Information:

We invite proposals along the following tracks. Funding amounts will vary based on the budgets of individual projects. 

Track 1 (Convening):

Track 1 invites proposals that lead to convergent / collaborative Track 2 proposals – defining a wicked problem Idea and developing a team in response. That is, Track 1 might be a precursor to a Track 2 proposal in a second round of this RFP. Convening proposals may be for interdisciplinary lectures, smaller workshops, larger multi-day conferences, or for curriculum development for co-teaching a new interdisciplinary course at either the graduate or undergraduate level. Proposals may be for academic events or events that bring policymakers, community leaders and/or private sector leaders and academics together. Lucy staff will be available to assist with conference planning and logistics.  Please note that proposals to fund departmental seminar series will not be considered. The funding for these Track 1 proposals will be decided on the basis of number and type of proposals received. We have a total of $25K available for Track 1 proposal, and up to 5 proposals will be funded (it is expected that the average funding amount will be $5K).

Track 2 (Research Accelerator):

Research Accelerator grants are an opportunity for faculty to engage in collaborative and interdisciplinary work, at the interface of data science and society, towards a wicked problem. Think about this as “a Big Idea Convergence Lab” spin-off among the PIs that builds important preliminary work and a team for developing a significant initiative to deliver on the promise of solving the wicked problem. Incremental approaches or solutions are not a target of Track 2. Research Accelerator proposals could emerge from the topics inspired by the break-out room discussions during the Fall ’21 Symposium, although Big Idea proposals that address other topics will also be considered. It is expected that these grants will be used towards building a sustained research effort that continues beyond the grant funding period, and that Track 2 awardees will apply for external funding during (or by the conclusion of) the two years of funding. The Institute will provide all administrative and logistical support, in addition to the funding, towards developing a successful external grant application, as necessary.

Research Accelerator grants must be used for hiring an interdisciplinary postdoctoral scholar or up to two graduate student(s) for up to two years, contingent on progress demonstrated in Year 1. It is expected that the postdoc or graduate student(s) will be co-mentored by faculty from at least two different disciplines; it is understood that the primary advisor for the graduate student will be from the same home department. Postdoctoral scholars and/or graduate student(s) will be designated as Lucy Scholars and will join a cohort of interdisciplinary scholars. The Institute will directly and fully fund the postdoctoral scholar or the graduate student(s) earmarked for the project. Year 2 funding is contingent upon significant progress and trajectory towards developing a competitive externally funded research program. We aim to fund up to five Track 2 proposals at the level of a postdoc or two graduate students, starting May 2021.

Track 3 (Infrastructure & Services):

Infrastructure grants are intended to provide seed funding to help support acquisition or subscription to computing equipment and/or data for collaborative research projects, involving multiple disciplines, of relevance to the Institute. These proposals must include a sustainability plan that details how the computing and / or data infrastructure will be supported to continue beyond the duration of the funding. In addition, applicants may request funding for Institute core & applied research services such as the Center for Social Sciences Research (CSSR) services or Applied Analytics and Emerging Technology Lab (AETL) (data scientists or software engineers), equipment purchase, and/or data subscription. To estimate costs for a specific project, please consult directly with Dr. Brian Fogarty (CSSR, bfogart2@nd.edu) or Natalie Meyers (AETL, natalie.meyers@nd.edu). The funding for core services & applied research proposals will be decided on the basis of number and type of proposals received. Up to $60K is allocated towards Track 3.

Track 4 (Partnerships):

Track 4 is intended to facilitate South Bend and Elkhart Industry collaborations and/or community partnership initiatives. The funding for industry and/or community engagement proposals will be decided on the basis of number and type of proposals received.

  • 4A (Industry partnerships): Industry proposals will require a specific Statement of Work to be developed with Industry partners. It is expected that proposers will collaborate with iNDustry Labs and the Applied Analytics and Emerging Technology Lab (AETL). We are also concurrently running an RFP through the AnalytiXIN initiative, which will develop partnerships with the Industry based out of Indianapolis. Industry proposals will first be funded at an exploration stage (one month of faculty summer salary or equivalent cost of a research assistant) to develop a Statement of Work with Industry partners. Once an SOW is established, the PIs can ask for graduate student funding for the entire year. The Institute will facilitate necessary introductions for the interested faculty.  We expect to fund up to three AETL projects. 
  • 4B (Community partnerships): It is expected that proposals for community partnerships will be focused on building new alliances and conducting needs assessments that can help bring in community voices for jointly developing future research and/or education/broader impact endeavors. We have up to $10K available to support up to two initiatives.


Primary applicants must be Lucy faculty or staff Affiliates / Fellows. Each applicant may only be listed on one proposal per track. 

Key Dates:

  • Proposals are due Mar 18, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET.
  • Funded proposals will be announced on April 20, 2022.
  • Tracks 1 and 4 could receive rapid funding depending on the scope and timeline of proposals.
  • The funding period for Track 2 is May 1, 2022 to May 30, 2024.
  • The funding period for Track 3 is May 1, 2022 to May 30, 2023.

Proposal Requirements:

For all Tracks, please include:

  1. Proposing team: name(s), department / affiliation, and expected contribution to the proposal (1 page).
  2. Project description (3 pages max (Tracks 1 & 4), 5 pages max (Tracks 2 & 3), single spaced, 11 pt font, each section clearly indicated).
    a.  Title & Abstract: one paragraph summary of your proposal, impact, and expected outcomes.
    b.  Clearly stated objectives and goals.
    c.  Description of your proposed approach and methods. Include background and motivation for the approach. References are not included in the page limit.
    d.  Targeted societal impact: Who is the intended audience? Who will your proposal impact?
    e.   Expected benefits: What are the larger goals and implications of your project? How will you measure success? How will you share your findings with the community? What scholarship / educational / translational science benefits will emerge?
    f.  How does your proposal align with or further the mission of the Institute?
    g. Rationale: Why is an interdisciplinary approach appropriate to solve this wicked problem? Why should this be an emergent theme for the Institute?
    h.  Sustainability: How will this research program and theme be sustained beyond the investment by the Institute? For example:
    1. Track 1: describe how this effort may lead to a successful Track 2 proposal, or other sustained deliverables.
    2. Track 2: list specific source(s) that you plan to apply to for external funding at the conclusion of the grant period.
    3. Track 3: include a sustainability plan that details how data and/or computing infrastructure will enable new research that can then be supported by external funding in the long-term.
    4. Track 4: describe future goals and list other potential sources for future funding.
  3. Project timeline and milestones (1 page).
    a.  Tracks 1 and 4: proposals are eligible to be funded immediately for up to one year.
    b.  Track 2: the funding period is May 1, 2022 to May 30, 2024. 
    c.  Track 3: the funding period is May 1, 2022 to May 30, 2023.
  4. Budget and budget justification (1 page).
  5. Additional materials:
    1. Short description of any previous support received from the Lucy Family Institute.
    2. Track 2 only: Biosketch for all members of the proposing team (using the NSF Biosketch Template).
    3. Track 2 only: Current and Pending support for all senior members of the proposing team (using the NSF Current & Pending Template).

Final Report:

At the end of the award period, all grant recipients will be required to submit a short final report that details how your team benefited from the funds and what insights might be relevant to future funding opportunities. It is also expected that each team will present a summary of their progress and findings at an annual Institute event.

Selection and Award Processes:

Proposals will be reviewed by a subset of the Lucy steering committee, ad-hoc review committee based on expertise, and Lucy leadership team.

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Interdisciplinary: draws on expertise and/or participation from more than one discipline.
  • Innovation: proposes creative, cutting-edge research or activities that are clearly aligned with the mission of the Institute.
  • Impact: inspires action across the University or outside the campus community. Project deliverables advance the common good. Research scholarship holds the potential to inspire new discoveries.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: project teams carefully consider who is represented on the research team, how labor is distributed and compensated, and who is represented in data.
  • Sustainability: clearly outlines how these efforts will continue beyond the funding period.
  • For Track 2 (Research Accelerator), Feasibility: Timeline and goals are realistic for developing a project eligible to apply for external funding by the end of the funding period.

Acceptance Conditions

By accepting a grant, awardees agree to submit a final report to the Institute no later than three months after the project concludes. Foundation and grant proposals that result from these funds must be affiliated with the Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society in Cayuse, and any publications must acknowledge the Institute’s support and reflect Institute affiliation.


​For more information or questions regarding this RFP, please contact:

Katie Liu
Research Program Manager
Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society
Email: kliu22@nd.edu

For more information about how to become a Lucy Affiliate or join the Lucy mailing list with upcoming event announcements, please contact:

Alissa Doroh
Administrative Coordinator
Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society
Email: adoroh@nd.edu