University of Maryland

Social Data Science Center Seed Grant: Call for Proposals

The SoDa-Social Data Science Center is pleased to announce the 2022 Call for Proposals for the inaugural SoDa seed grants. The projects under this initiative may address any societal challenge that affects  a large number of people, including but not limited to: health, public safety, justice, race, gender, education, employment, transit, and political representation.  The goal of these seed grants is to encourage faculty to develop collaborative projects that stimulate the advancement of new ideas that can build the University’s expertise toward a national reputation in the broad area of social data science. The ideal project should blend the development or use of innovative data science methods or new measurements, the advancement of scholarship within or across disciplines, and progress in addressing a societal challenge. This competitive, peer-reviewed program is providing initial support for proposed long-term programs of collaborative research that have strong potential to attract external funding. 

Eligibility: Tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty, and professional track faculty are eligible to apply as principal investigators (PI).

Project Awards: We anticipate making approximately 5 seed grant awards of up to $50,000 total each for one year. 

Funding Priorities: Proposals must highlight the importance of how the proposed effort can and will significantly impact a key component of an enduring or emerging challenge of societal impact. 

Successful Proposals will:

  • Articulate a highly compelling need for the proposed project;
  • Detail the proposed reach, impact and potential of the proposed project to address a societal challenge;
  • Describe internal and external partnerships that will enable, scale, and expand the impact and visibility of the effort;
  • Demonstrate a path to financial sustainability (including, how the seed grant funding will be leveraged to secure new grants, contracts, or other external funding and revenue sources, etc.).

Important Dates:

  • Application Opens: October, 1st 2022.
  • Application Closes: November, 10th 2022.
  • Award Decisions: December, 2022.

Application Materials:

Required materials include:

  • Abstract: up to 300 words;
  • Proposal (4 pages or less, references are not included on the page count);
  • Budget and Budget Justification;
  • Proposed Timeline;
  • Bio-sketch of all researchers.

Formatting style: 

  • 1″X1″ margins;
  • No smaller than 11pt standard font (Times, Arial, Calibri, Garamond, etc.);
  • No less than single spacing.

Proposal Guidelines:

  1. Challenge Idea/Area:
    • What are you trying to do for the research project challenge?
    • Why is the proposed work important to society?
    • Articulate clear objectives/goals using absolutely no jargon.
    • Describe how the results would not be otherwise attainable or difficult to achieve without funding.
  2. State of Art:
    • Describe how it is done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  3. Innovation:
    • What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
    • What new data sources and/or new measurements are you using?
    • How are the data science methods enhancing the prior work?
    • What technology/policy/methodology/process/cultural innovation do you hope to achieve to reach your goal?
  4. Metrics & Milestones:
    • How will you measure success throughout the course of the research project?
    • In 6 and 12 months after the project starts, how will progress be measured and what are the expected outcomes?
    • List an important milestone that will be achieved with a corresponding qualitative or quantitative metric.
  5. Impact: 
    • Describe the impact the new project will have in addressing a societal challenge.
    • Describe how this new project could ultimately improve the lives of millions of people.
  6. Risks:
    • What are the risks to successful execution of the proposed project?
  7. Resources:
    • How much will it cost and what are the resources needed?
  8. Partnerships:
    • Proposals should describe internal and external partnerships that will enable, scale, and expand the impact of the project
  9. External Visibility and Funding:
    • What would be the outcome or product (grant proposals written, the white paper posted, etc.)? 
    • How would it be disseminated? 
    • What would be the impact on society of the proposed activities?
    • Proposals must identify how the seed grant will be leveraged to secure external grants, contracts, awards, revenue to continue the research

Review Process: All submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed and scored in response to the questions and criteria listed under “Proposal Guidelines.” 

Application: Proposals must be a single PDF submitted by email to: . Please, on the subject write: “SoDaSeedGrant-<PI LastName_FirstName>”.

For additional questions, please contact Diego Fregolent Mendes de Oliveira at