Trust in Science Round 2 RFP

Research awards (up to $100,000) CLOSED
Exploratory awards (up to $5,000) OPEN ON A ROLLING BASIS 

Submission Requirements: Research Award proposals may be submitted here. Exploratory Awards may be submitted here.

Contact for questions:    Sam Weiss Evans  

The Trust in Science Project supports research that advances the trustworthiness of science by leveraging expertise across disciplines and schools at Harvard. It is managed by the HDSI in partnership with the Program on Science, Technology & Society.

Goal of the Round 2 Trust in Science RFP

The goal of the Round 2 Trust in Science RFP is to enable faculty across Harvard to study issues related to trust in science, broadly construed. The Trust in Science Project welcomes data-science related initiatives from any field, including humanities and social sciences, ideally involving collaboration that engages with more than one approach, or builds bridges between them. Questions of particular interest include: 

  • How can the processes and products of data science be made more transparent, and how might strategies of democratization affect the trustworthiness of science? 

  • How do methods of visualizing data affect the ways that different groups assess the trustworthiness of that data?

  • How can collaborative team structures in science increase the trustworthiness of their results?

  • What gives rise to extreme or far out interpretations of data and how are conspiracy theories propagated?

These are only examples of appropriate research directions and applicants are encouraged to think broadly. 

Matchmaking: The Project seeks to facilitate connections between researchers in diverse disciplines.  If you believe your proposal would benefit from a collaboration with a researcher outside your department or discipline, we encourage you to seek collaborators through the Trust in Science channel on the HDSI Slack.  You can access our Slack at

Award Amount and Duration

  • Research award: The Project expects to make 3 - 5 Research awards of up to $100,000 (direct costs) for projects that are designed to be completed in a 12 to 18 month period. 

  • Exploratory award: The Project will also consider proposals for awards in the $2-5K range to explore opportunities for larger collaborative endeavors or other well-defined purposes that advance the Project’s goals. 

Eligibility: Individuals who hold a faculty appointment at a Harvard school and have principal investigator rights at that school are eligible to apply. (Harvard Medical School faculty must hold a faculty appointment with PI rights in one of HMS’s Quad-based, preclinical departments). 

Reporting: Each Research awardee is expected to complete a short interim report 3-6 months from the date funds are awarded, a final report within 30 days of award completion, and to share any code that is developed through a public GitHub repository. Exploratory awardees are expected to complete a one-page final report within 30 days of the award completion.

Application Requirements for Research awards (up to $100,000): Please submit the following online here:

  1. Project Statement (2 page maximum) that addresses:

    1. The question or problem, and why it is important.

    2. The approach to be taken.

    3. A communication plan

  2. Impact Statement (500 word maximum) that addresses:

    1. The Trust in Science Project is committed to supporting research that promotes fair and responsible data science. We ask that you submit a short statement that speaks to the ethical and societal aspects of your proposal. This statement should address both the ways that your proposal contributes to broader societal debates about trust in science and your ideas on how that contribution could be assessed. 

  3. Abridged CV or Biosketch (limit 2 pages)

  4. Budget Estimate (up to $100,000), with major divisions of funds listed as line items (personnel, equipment, etc.). School assessments and/or indirect costs should not be included in your budget (the Trust in Science Project will arrange these with applicants’ home schools separately). Examples of eligible expenses include: personnel (including postdocs, graduate students, undergraduate students), travel, and acquisition of datasets. The following expenses are NOT eligible for funding: faculty salary, graduate student tuition, subcontracts outside Harvard unless there is a clear scientific rationale for why the work needs to be done externally.

Application requirements for Exploratory awards (up to $5,000). Please submit the following here

  1. One-page concept note outlining:

    1. The question or problem you wish to address and why it is important.

    2. The collaborative approach to be taken.

    3. A proposed budget.

  2. One-page C.V.

We will work individually with applicants for exploratory awards if we determine that the project merits further development.