The Harvard Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellows Research Fund

Currently not accepting applications.
Award Amount: The Fund will support a single award of up to $25,000, and two to three smaller awards of $5,000-10,000 each. 

Eligible Applicants: Postdoctoral fellows on fixed-term contracts. Applicants must have at least 9 months remaining in their contract by the January deadline.

Overview of the Harvard Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow Research Fund

The goal of the Harvard Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow Research Fund is to incentivize and support cross-disciplinary collaboration between data scientists at the postdoctoral level. We are particularly interested in funding research proposals that aim to:

  • Investigate novel applications of data analysis techniques (broadly defined), particularly by transferring methodology from one field to another;
  • Share and combine existing but distinct data sets to gain new insights into a problem;
  • Involve new collaborations between researchers in separate departments (or fields of research);
  • Explore new methods that may help to improve the public understanding of complex technical issues or areas of research.

Funds may be used to hire students, buy access to data or software; or for travel and conference fees. Proposed projects should take a maximum of one year to complete. Successful applicants will be provided the opportunity to present results at the DSI conference, normally held in the Fall.


This program is open to Harvard researchers who hold a non-faculty, fixed-term postdoctoral appointment at a Harvard school that extends to at least August 2020. There is no requirement for applicants to have principal investigator rights, although the application should include contact details for the financial officer at the relevant school who would administer the funds should the proposal be selected. Applicants from Harvard Medica School must have an appointment in a quad-based pre-clinical departmet.

Individuals may only submit one application in this funding cycle. Funds must be spent within a year of being received. If and awardee leaves Harvard, any remaining DSI funding will be forfeited.

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted online at  by 5:00 p.m. on January 10, 2020. Proposals will be read and evaluated by a committee made up of individuals with interdisciplinary expertise in data science, so please ensure that your proposal makes sense to someone outside of your discipline. 

Information requested in the online application includes the following:

  1. Contact information;
  2. Contact information of the financial officer at the school who will administer the funds;
  3. Project description that is accessible to non-specialists (max 1 page: additional pages will not be read). The project description should include:
    1. The question or problem, and why it is important.
    2. The approach to be taken.
    3. The potential impact of the proposed work.
  4. Abridged CV or biosketch (max two pages);
  5. Budget and budget justification (max one page), including timeline for expenditure. Budgets should provide enough information to convey the alignment of costs with the project. We expect to make funding available in early 2020. Awards must be spent within one year of receipt.
  6. Description of the availability of data and resources, as appropriate.

Examples of eligible expenses include:

  • Personnel, such as graduate or undergraduate students
  • Travel (domestic and international)
  • Acquisition of datasets, software or computer hardware 

The following expenses are NOT eligible for funding:

  • Graduate student tuition
  • Subcontracts outside Harvard
  • Equipment

Note: School assessments and/or indirect costs should not be included in your budget (the HDSI will arrange these with home schools separately).

If you have questions about the DSI Postdoctoral Fellow Research Fund, please email