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New round of seed funding to advance Iowa State’s data-driven science

By Office of the Vice President for Research

The Presidential Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research (PIIR) in Data-Driven Science is launching a new round of internal funding to develop cross-college research teams that aggressively pursue external research grants in Big Data. Initial white-paper proposals are due March 21.

PIIR in Data-Driven Science is designed to help position Iowa State as a leader in the emerging field of Big Data.

“Iowa State continues to advance Big Data by bringing together talented faculty from across all colleges and centers. This second round of PIIR in Data-Driven Science awards will support the development of new multidisciplinary collaborations to explore how data-driven approaches can address some of society’s most complex challenges,” said President Steven Leath.

Big Data encompasses not only large, complex and varied data sources, but the statistical and computational methods used to harness the potential of the data. An important element of data-driven science is understanding ethical, legal and social implications of the analysis approach and findings.

The call for proposals is the second in the PIIR in Data-Driven Science program. The initial round of data-driven science projects was announced earlier this month and included precision agriculture, intelligent text analysis, sustainable cities, and data integration for policy development.

“I am very excited about the early progress of our initial PIIR projects, who are already building their teams through focused symposia, planning proposals to federal agencies, and preliminary research,” said vice president for research Sarah Nusser. “We look forward to another highly creative and diverse set of proposals from all corners of campus.”


Each PIIR team will include at least four faculty members from multiple academic units, with at least one investigator in each of these components: application domain, core data science methodologies, and ethical, legal and societal impacts.


Each team will define an interdisciplinary research effort with a clear aim for research advances and potential external funding opportunities. PIIR teams will use seed funds for a mix of research purposes, developing funding opportunities, and collaboration and visibility building outside of Iowa State.


Awards are for up to $200,000 for up to three years, with funds to be partially supported by cost sharing by colleges.


The Office of the Vice President for Research will coordinate the proposal review based on guidelines for initial proposals and for white paper reviews. A FAQ also provides information for potential applicants.


March 21             White papers due

April 11                 Invitation for full proposals distributed

May 22                 Full proposals due

June 15                 Final decisions announced


Direct questions about PIIR to associate vice president for research Wolfgang Kliemann.