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Call for Proposals: Data Science and AI Mini-Symposia

2024-2025 Season

The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) is seeking proposals for data science and AI research mini-symposia from MIDAS affiliated faculty and U-M units.

Goal

MIDAS aims to enable high-impact and innovative data science and AI research through these mini-symposia. We collaborate with faculty members and campus units to organize 3-4 such events each semester. Each event focuses on one research theme and appeals to an interdisciplinary audience. Each mini-symposium includes a public session with invited speakers, and may also include faculty research discussion sessions.

Who May Apply:

All MIDAS affiliate faculty members may be lead organizers. An individual may participate as the lead organizer on only one proposal.  Anyone who is not yet a MIDAS affiliate should join before submitting the proposal, using this application form. Postdocs, graduate students and staff members can be co-organizers, but not lead organizers.

 

We also welcome campus units to propose joint mini-symposia with MIDAS.

 

Please feel free to email midas-contact@umich.edu if you would like to discuss your idea prior to submission.

Important Dates:

  • 11:59 pm, May 31, 2024 Proposal due
  • 11:59 pm, June 30, 2024Awards announced
  • July 15, 2024Event dates finalized and preparations begin
  • Aug. 31, 2024 –  Speakers confirmed for all events

Why You Should Apply:

  • Invite your favorite speakers to U-M with MIDAS footing the bill and expanding the audience reach!
  • Develop momentum on campus for the research theme that you care about.
  • Connect with the speakers and researchers on campus for collaboration.
  • Build collaboration between your unit and MIDAS.

Scientific Scope:

Each mini-symposium should focus on a significant research theme where data science and AI could enable breakthroughs. The theme can be a methodology or applications of one or more methodologies. The theme should be broad enough to appeal to an interdisciplinary audience, but narrow enough to allow in-depth research exploration. The 2023-2024 mini-symposia can serve as examples:

The Format of the Mini-Symposium:

  • Must happen during the fall or winter semester, and cannot be during the (summer) break.
  • Featured talks open to the public by ~4 external speakers who are prominent researchers for the theme of the event, with additional internal speakers if needed;
  • Additional side meetings and workshops that you think may be helpful.

Award Information and Awardee Responsibilities:

3-4 proposals will be chosen for each semester.

 

MIDAS will:

  • Cover the cost of travel, hotel, and food for external speakers, the cost of event venue, hosting of faculty meetings with speakers, and refreshments. Costs that the organizers would like to include but are beyond the items listed here, such as speaker honorarium, will need to be arranged by some cost-share mechanisms with other units.
  • Provide logistical support, including booking venue and travel, and on-site staff support;
  • Advertise the event to the campus community.

Faculty and / or unit organizers will be expected to:

  • Invite external and internal speakers;
  • Lead the design of the event program, with input from the MIDAS symposium program committee if needed;
  • Ensure that the event planning happens in a timely manner, and the event takes place within the timeframe agreed upon with MIDAS.

How to Apply:

Please submit your proposal via this Google Form. The proposal should be one .pdf file containing the following components. 

  1. Summary. Up to three sentences in non-technical language about the event. This will be made public (for example, on the MIDAS website) if the proposal is awarded.
  2. Event description, up to 2 pages, with a font size of 10 or above. This should include the following components in any order or format.
    1. The theme of the event.
    2. A list of co-organizers who have agreed to work with the lead organizer (external co-organizers are allowed).
    3. What types of faculty researchers would benefit from the event (research domains, types of research, types of units), and the event’s appeal to an interdisciplinary audience.
    4. A list of external speakers that the organizers intend to invite (3-5 names as the ideal lineup, and backup choices).
    5. Proposed months of the event (please list your top three choices). Please keep in mind that we will coordinate with all awarded proposals to spread out the events throughout the year.
  3. (Optional) Any intellectual product that the organizers plan to develop based on the event. For example, are you planning to write a review paper with the speakers and some attendees of the event? We don’t require such products, but they can make the event more beneficial to both the organizers and the attendees. MIDAS will provide additional funding for some of these activities. For example, funding a half-day U-M faculty research workshop to build ideas and collaboration;
  4. (Encouraged but optional) Letter(s) of Support. Events that have the support of the organizers’  unit leader (department chair, institute director, etc.) have seen tremendous success. We encourage you to discuss your symposium idea with your unit leaders and request a Letter of Support. MIDAS is happy to join this discussion.

Review Process and Criteria:

MIDAS symposium program committee will evaluate the proposals based on:

    • The scientific significance of the proposed theme;
    • The interdisciplinarity of the theme;
    • The potential of the event to stimulate research discussions that will lead to innovative ideas and collaborations to address significant scientific questions.

If needed, we may discuss with the faculty organizers to fine tune the theme statement, for example, to broaden it or to narrow it.  Conversely, potential organizers are encouraged to discuss with us while they are still developing ideas for a proposal,

Questions?

For questions, please contact: midas-research@umich.edu