First Round of Research Funding Spring 2023 Call for Proposals

Update March 8, 2023: Submissions are closed for this round of funding. Thank you to everyone who submitted a project proposal for your interest. We will keep you apprised of the results of the first-tier review when they become available.

The Center for Data-Driven Drug Development and Treatment Assessment (DATA), an NSF-funded Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) and a unit of the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), in partnership with DATA’s industry members, is pleased to announce a call for its first round of research funding awards. We are inviting proposals for projects that will apply novel computational methods, data science solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques to solve problems within the focus research areas of the Center, including drug design, drug repositioning, drug treatment assessment, patient phenotyping, and quantitative pharmacovigilance.

Submission information

  • Deadline: March 6, 2023, 11:59 pm EST
  • Method of submission: Please compile all documents (as described under guidelines below) in one PDF file and email it directly to Ivana Tullett, DATA Center Managing Director, at
  • Eligible applicants: University of Michigan researchers eligible to serve as a U-M Principal Investigator (PI) on sponsored projects (e.g., tenured-track or research faculty) are eligible to apply as the project PI or co-PI, i.e., the individual responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the project. If a project has co-PIs, the first PI listed on the proposal will hold primary responsibility for the project. MIDAS affiliate faculty is encouraged to apply.
  • Content guidelines: Proposals should include:
    • Project description briefly discussing:
      • Problem statement: Description of the problem(s) within the research areas specified above that the project will aim to solve. Please also address the importance for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries of solving the problem(s).
      • Methods: Description of the data science, AI, and ML methods and techniques that will be used to investigate the problem(s).
      • Innovation: Discussion of how the proposed methodologies contribute to innovation in the field of drug discovery and/or treatment assessment.
      • Milestones & deliverables: Description of project milestones through the anticipated length of the project and of proposed deliverables for the first year.
      • Industry partners: A list of industry sectors within DATA’s focus areas that are expected to participate in and/or benefit from the project. DATA’s industry focus spans diverse areas, including pharmaceutical, biotech, information technology, AI/ML, data standardization, and healthcare sectors. Proposals involving multiple industry fields and/or partners are strongly encouraged. DATA-funded projects should be designed to foster active research collaboration between University researchers and the Center’s industry partners. While a list of specific collaborators from DATA’s industry partners is not required, applicants who have discussed their project ideas with the Center’s industry members or affiliates should specifically identify their expected collaborators.
        • Please do not include any proprietary or confidential information and limit your project description to two (2) pages in length.
    • References: Please limit your references to two (2) pages.
    • Biosketch of the PI and each co-PI, not more than two (2) pages in length. 
    • Budget: While a detailed budget is not required at this time, proposals should include the estimated funding needs by expense category. 
      • Eligible expenses include support for research personnel (e.g., students, trainees, post-docs), lab resources (e.g., high performance computing and storage). 
      • Faculty effort may not be included in the budget. 
      • Awards are limited to $40,000/project for this year of funding.
  • Limit on number of proposals: Multiple submissions by the same applicant will be accepted, with a cap of two (2) proposals for which an applicant may serve as the PI or as a co-PI.

Selection process & review criteria

A two-tiered evaluation process will be used to select funded projects:

  1. Proposals satisfying the content and submission guidelines will be evaluated by members of the Center’s Industry Advisory Board (IAB), using criteria including (i) significance & relevance of the problem(s) to DATA’s mission, (ii) novelty & feasibility of the suggested methodological approach, (iii) project team & resources, (iv) a member’s preference for funding the project & interest in active collaboration, (v) extent to which the project will involve or benefit multiple industries and/or multiple DATA industry partners.

    Results of the first round of selection will be communicated before DATA’s Spring 2023 IAB meeting (scheduled for April 13-14, 2023).

  2. Applicants with top-rated proposals will be invited to give a brief, 10-minute presentation at DATA’s Spring 2023 IAB meeting, held on April 13-14, 2023, in Ann Arbor, MI. The IAB will make its funding decisions at this meeting or shortly afterwards. Please be available on Thursday, April 13between 10 am and 3 pm, to deliver the project presentation, and on Friday, April 14between 8 am and 10 am, for a discussion & review session with the IAB.

Additional Information

  • Proposed projects may be designed for multiple years; however, award decisions are made on a year-by-year basis.
  • Proposed projects may not duplicate projects funded by other awards received by the researchers.
  • Intellectual Property: DATA is a pre-competitive consortium of academia and industry. In accordance with NSF rules, DATA’s industry members receive a non-exclusive royalty-free license (contact Innovation Partnerships at for details on the nature of this license) to intellectual property derived from inventions conceived or first actually reduced to practice within the Center. If intellectual property created prior to, or outside the scope of, a Center project is required for a research project selected for funding, U-M Innovation Partnerships will negotiate appropriate agreements as necessary. 
  • An information session was held on Tuesday, February 14, 3-3:45 pm, via Zoom. The video recording and slides from this presentation are available for your perusal.

About DATA

Established in 2022, the Center for Data-Driven Drug Development and Treatment Assessment (DATA) is part of the Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) Program of the National Science Foundation and a unit of the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) at the University of Michigan. DATA advances U.S. competitiveness by working with industry to solve current, emerging, and industry-relevant challenges in drug design, drug repositioning and repurposing, treatment monitoring, assessment and optimization, patient phenotyping, and quantitative pharmacovigilance using novel machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques. DATA will produce new methodologies and infrastructure for industry-wide collaborative drug discovery and treatment assessment, with the goal of significantly accelerating the pace of drug discovery while reducing the costs. The Center’s cross-industrial and cross-disciplinary nature brings together all stakeholders in this area, including data scientists, mathematicians, biomedical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, and payers in the healthcare industry. 

The Center seeks to solve multiple challenges related to data (insufficient size and lack of diversity of patient and pharmaceutical data, lack of data standards used across the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, compliance with privacy requirements applicable to patient and human subject data, curation & integration of the available data), and to algorithms (lack of transparency of AI/ML models, training of AI/ML models on incomplete databases).