Data+ RFP

Deadline: November 5, 2018

Data+ is a ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates interested in exploring data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges.

Students join small teams and work alongside other teams in a communal environment. They learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the field of data science. In Summer 2018 there were 24 Data+ teams working together in Gross Hall.

Data+ is offered through the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) and is part of the Bass Connections Information, Society & Culture theme. The program runs from mid-May until the end of July. During this time, students are required to contribute to the team full-time and may not take classes or have other employment.

Request for Proposals

We invite proposals for faculty-sponsored Data+ projects in Summer 2019. We are especially interested in proposals that involve a partner from outside the academy, or a faculty member from a different discipline. We also encourage proposals that involve previously untested ideas or unanalyzed datasets, and we hope that the Data+ team can make a contribution with important proof-of-principle work that may lead to more substantial faculty work and/or connections in the future. We also welcome proposals that will lead to the undergraduates creating tools that might be used in the classroom or that might facilitate community engagement with data and data-driven questions.

Opportunity to submit a joint proposal for a year-long Bass Connections project and a Summer 2019 Data+ project: Interested faculty may propose a Data+ project connected to a year-long Bass Connections project by completing the Bass Connections RFP (to be released on Sept. 4 and due Nov. 5). Please be prepared to articulate how you will connect the Data+ project with the year-long project. Please note that funding decisions will continue to be made by each program individually, so it is possible that your proposal may be accepted for only Data+ or only Bass Connections. Please contact Laura Howes if you have questions or want to discuss how other faculty have connected these experiences in the past.

Data+ Application Format

To apply, please prepare a document (three pages maximum) that responds to the following prompts, ideally in this order.

Summary: Please write a project summary, including the basic ideas behind the proposal.

Faculty leads: Data+ is especially interested in projects that connect faculty from different disciplines, as well as projects that enable faculty to branch out in new directions. Please describe the intended faculty leads and the expected benefits from their participation.

Mentoring: Day-to-day faculty involvement in Data+ is not expected. Instead, each Data+ project has a mentor, usually a graduate student or postdoc, who is on hand to give the student team more focused guidance. The time commitment tends to be five to seven hours per week, and funding is generally available to cover the mentor’s time.

If you have a mentor in mind, please indicate who this is and why s/he is well suited. If you do not, please describe the skills you would like this person to have (we are generally able to find faculty-mentor matches).

Goals: Describe the intended goals and products of the project, in the following manner:

  • Describe entirely reachable goals that you fully expect the students to achieve: these could be answers to a question, explorations of a hypothesis, or other things of that nature.
  • Describe a tangible product the students will create in the course of their research, which ideally will be of use both to further researchers at the university and to the students as something they can show off to future employers or graduate schools. This could be, for example, a good piece of well-commented software, or a visualization device, or a detailed curation of previously raw data.
  • Describe a more outrageous goal that you would be quite (pleasantly!) surprised to see the students achieve, along with a plan for them to build a potential roadmap toward that goal. For example, this goal might only be reachable if you had data that you currently do not have, and the students might build a speculative roadmap toward acquiring that data

Data: Most Data+ projects involve analysis of datasets. Some of these are publically available, and some are not. As it is essential that students be able to analyze the needed data for the project, we are very interested in plans to ensure that this will happen. Please address this in the following manner:

  • For each dataset that will be analyzed by the student team, please give a high-level description of the dataset (what’s in it, how was it collected and for which purpose, how large is it, etc.).
  • For each dataset, indicate whether you anticipate IRB approval will be needed for student access, and if not, why not. If IRB approval will be needed, indicate whether a protocol already exists and describe your plan for incorporating the student involvement. If it does not already exist, please describe your plan (including a timeline) for obtaining one.
  • For each dataset, indicated whether it is owned and/or is being provided by an outside party. If so, please describe the intended path toward ensuring that students will be granted the ability to access the dataset (we are often able to assist in crafting Data Use Agreements with outside parties, for example).

Outside partners: Some of the best Data+ projects have had a partner from outside the university. This might be someone who is invested in the data or the questions, and to whom the students will in essence deliver analysis and insight. Ideally, this partner will be able to come to Gross Hall two or three times during the summer to hear updates from the students and provide feedback.

For each such partner, please describe their expected interest in the project, how much they would interact with the team, whether or not they’d be able to contribute funds towards student stipends, and also identify a point of contact for this partner.

Deadline and Contact

The deadline for submitting this application is November 5, 2018, 5:00 p.m. Please email your completed application to Ariel Dawn. If you would like help in developing your proposal, please contact Paul Bendich.