Call for Proposals: Propelling Original Data Science (PODS) Mini-Grants for COVID-19 Research

The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) offers annual pilot grant support through its Propelling Original Data Science (PODS) program.  To support U-M researchers leveraging data science and artificial intelligence in COVID-19 research, MIDAS is offering a special round of PODS mini-grant funding for COVID-19 research projects.  The proposals should have a central data science component and address critical issues of the COVID-19 pandemic from any research perspective, including, but not limited to: 

  • Understanding the disease mechanism
  • Drug discovery
  • Improving treatment and care
  • Maintaining societal wellbeing during the crisis
  • Evidence-based guidance for individual and government actions
  • Strategies for recovery of the economy and normal life
  • Monitoring for future waves of infection

Award Information: Up to 10 projects will be awarded for a duration of 7 to 7.5 months (until 12/31/2020), based on a competitive process.  Each project will receive up to $30K of funding.

Who May Apply: Principal Investigators (PIs) and co-PIs should be faculty members at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Dearborn, or Flint campus).  An individual may participate as PI/co-PI on only one proposal. Co-investigators, consultants and other personnel are not limited by this restriction. 

Important Dates: The short timeframe reflects the urgency of such research.

  • April 30, 2020, 10:00 am: Proposals due (extended to accommodate end-of-semester responsibilities)
  • May 13, 2020: Awards announced
  • May 15 – June 1, 2020: Projects start

How to Apply:

  • Application submission is now open.
  • Proposal content:
    • Cover page, which includes the project title and the list of PI(s) and co-PI(s).
    • Project description, up to 4 pages, in Arial with minimum font size 10.  This should include Specific Aims, background, significance and innovation, and methods in which the data science component should be clearly delineated;
    • A Statement of Societal Impact (up to ½ page) that describes how the outcome of this project will directly contribute to addressing issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, if any, the potential negative impact that needs to be carefully avoided.
    • References (no page limit).
    • Biosketch in NSF or NIH format for PI, co-PI and senior personnel;
    • A detailed budget and budget justification.  You may use our template or any other template.  Indirect cost is not allowed.

Review criteria

  • An outcome that directly contributes to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic or its effects on society (e.g.,  data-driven or AI-enabled tools, treatments strategies and recommendations);
  • Project feasibility;
  • Strength of the research team;
  • Strength of the data science component;
  • Intellectual merit and contribution to research in the long run.
  • Note about the review process: given the special circumstance and the tight timeline, we require that all teams who submit proposals also serve as reviewers (one person on each team will review up to two other proposals by May 7th).  We will reach out with instructions after the submission deadline.

Post-award expectations

  • PIs, co-PIs, and senior investigators are expected to be MIDAS affiliate members.  They may apply for affiliate membership in parallel with their grant application.
  • All publications, public presentations, and products from this award should acknowledge MIDAS.
  • All teams will be expected to present at MIDAS events and participate in MIDAS activities for data science research, education, and community building. 

For questions, please contact: