Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Call for Proposals: Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) Summer Program

Posted: 1/14/2019 (Conference)

 Program Overview

The UW eScience Institute, in collaboration with the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative, opened applications in late 2018 for the fifth offering of the Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) summer program, to be held during the summer of 2019.

We invite short proposals for 10-week data-intensive research projects requiring collaboration in data science approaches, such as scalable data management, statistical analysis, machine learning, open source software development, cloud and cluster computing, and/or data visualization.

We seek proposals that have an applied social good dimension and broadly address questions related to social science, human services, public policy, environmental impacts, and urban informatics. We welcome proposals submitted by academic researchers, public agencies, non-profit entities, and industry.

Accepted proposals will need to designate a Project Lead (usually the author(s) of the proposal) who will closely collaborate with one or more Data Scientists from the eScience Institute and an interdisciplinary team of 4-5 student fellows support by eScience (see Project Team Composition and Time Commitment below).

This program is inspired by a similar endeavor at the University of Chicago and is delivered as part of our Data Science Incubator program. The projects on those websites and especially the projects from our previous DSSG programs may serve as useful inspiration.

In reviewing the proposals, we will be looking for projects with well-defined deliverables that clearly articulate how the DSSG program can help advance your project.

This program is sponsored in part by Microsoft and the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative.

Submit proposals here.

Important Dates for DSSG 2019

·  Wednesday, November 28, 2018 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Information Session 1, Data Science Studio Meeting Room, 6th floor Physics/Astronomy Tower, UW campus – DSSG_info_session_slides

·  Wednesday, January 16 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm:  Information Session 2, Data Science Studio Meeting Room, 6th floor Physics/Astronomy Tower, UW campus – DSSG_info_session_slides

·  Monday, February 18, 2019 midnight PT: Deadline for submitting project proposals

·  Friday, March 15, 2019: Project proposal short-list notification

·  March – June 2019: Project scoping meetings with data scientists (2-3 meetings)

·  Monday, June 17 – Friday, Aug 23: DSSG Program

Project Team Composition

DSSG projects will be executed by a team consisting of an external Project Lead (typically the author of the proposal), one or more Data Scientists from the eScience Institute, and four or five students (graduate and advanced undergraduate) who will be selected and paid by the eScience Institute.

The Project Lead is expected to submit the project proposal. Together with the Data Scientists, the Project Leads will co-manage the student teams. The Project Lead will bear primary responsibility for project design and execution throughout the summer. The Data Scientists will provide guidance on methods, technologies, and best practices in extracting knowledge from large, noisy, and/or heterogeneous datasets, as well as general software engineering. Student responsibilities will vary from project to project, but their role may include developing code, selecting methods, conducting analyses, contributing to design, preparing documentation, and incorporating stakeholder perspectives into the project. The project team may also include external mentors and stakeholders as appropriate. In addition to their direct contributions to projects, students and Project Leads will have the opportunity to participate in a number of technical tutorials and research talks.

Time Commitment

The DSSG takes place from mid June through late August. Project leads are expected to spend the equivalent of at least two days per week (16 hours) in the Data Science Studio (DSS) working face-to-face with their team members. For the most part, Project Leads have the flexibility to establish a schedule that works for them and their teams. However, please note that the first week of the program consists of several mandatory orientation and teamwork sessions led by eScience staff, and Project Leads are encouraged to participate in a regularly scheduled standup meeting and social hour each week. Data Science mentors from eScience also commit the equivalent of 16 hours per week to the project, while student fellows will be employed full-time throughout the summer, and are expected to work in the Data Science Studio during business hours Monday-Friday.

Proposal Submissions

Project proposals should be submitted through the online submission form by 11:59 pm (Pacific Time) on February 18th. Click here to apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see our FAQ page for prospective Project Leads.


If you are considering submitting a project proposal to DSSG, we hope you’ll attend one of our information sessions listed above, but we also encourage you to reach out to us early on with any questions you may have about the program, selection process, or what makes a successful project. For general inquiries, please contact Anissa Tanweer (

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Deadline: 02/18/2019

Location: UW eScience Institute