Call for Proposals: Digital Technology Initiative Seed Grants

Submission deadline: Sunday, May 12, 2019


The Digital Technology Center (DTC) requests proposals from University of Minnesota faculty members for seed projects in digital technology. For the 2019 cycle, proposals that fall within the following thematic areas are particularly encouraged, although proposals targeting other research topics will also be considered.

  • Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
  • Edge Computing, Smart Communities, and the Internet of Things

Proposals should promote and foster DTC interdisciplinary and interdepartmental excellence in research. Proposals should also document how the seed funds will facilitate larger efforts toward securing external funding on the proposed topics.

The DTI grant program requires that each proposal team include at least one DTC-associated faculty member, not necessarily as the PI. By accepting an award, investigators agree to seek follow-on DTC support from external sources and that all follow-on grants will be submitted through DTC administration.

The upper limit for support per DTI grant is $80,000. Proposals requesting less than the maximum are acceptable, and all proposed costs must be well justified. Up to four awards will be granted this year. The exact number of awards will depend on the submissions received and the funds available. These one-year seed grants may be used to support graduate students, research associates, travel that facilitates collaborations, workshops related to the project, PI salary (up to 20% buy-out time during one academic semester or one-half summer month), or other justifiable expenses. Awardees will be expected to meet with the DTC Director and the DTC Associate Director for Research in the spring of 2020 to briefly report on progress of the funded project.

DTC will host two informal workshops with working lunches for investigators who may be interested in forming teams to apply for DTI grants. A lunch for investigators interested in Data Science and AI will be held at 12:00 on Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Walter Library. A lunch for investigators interested in Network Science and IoT will be held at 12:00 on Friday, March 29, 2019, also in Walter Library. Please RSVP by March 25 via e-mail to Jeremy Jenkins ( Attendance at one of these two informal workshops/lunches is encouraged but not required of DTI applicants.

All proposals must be led by a University of Minnesota faculty member. Each proposal team must include at least one DTC-associated faculty member. Each UMN faculty member is limited to submitting one proposal per year as principal investigator. There is no limit to the number of proposals a UMN faculty member can submit as a co-investigator.

Proposal submission and deadline:
Deadline for submissions is Sunday, May 12, 2019. Proposals must be submitted electronically as a single file (PDF or Word format) to Jeremy R. Jenkins:

Proposals must contain the following:

  • Name, home department, and contact information for Principal Investigator
  • Names, home departments, and contact information for other investigator(s)
  • Project title
  • Brief abstract (300 word limit)
  • Description of project or event (2 page limit)
  • Budget and budget justification (2 page limit)
  • Follow-on proposal summary for planned external funding (1 page limit)
  • Current curriculum vitae (2 page limit; NSF style)

Proposals that exceed length limits may be dismissed without review.

DTI awards are made within the University. No indirect costs will be charged. Proposals should not be submitted through Sponsored Project Administration (SPA); a PRF is not required.

Review Procedure:
Proposals will be peer-reviewed by a panel appointed by and including the DTC Director. No review panelist will be involved in any 2019 DTI proposals. Proposals will be selected on the basis of the quality of the proposed project, the impact of the proposed project in promoting the DTC mission, the reasonableness of the budget, the extent to which the project involves interdisciplinary research, and the case made for follow-on external funding opportunities. Educating students and post-doctoral associates for high-technology careers continues to be part of the DTC mission and may be considered in the review. As part of the review process, finalists are required to meet with the DTC Director to discuss the proposal’s project objectives and plans for external funding.

Funding Notification:
Award notification will be made by June 14, 2019. Funds will be available no later than July 1, 2019, and will remain available through June 30, 2020. Funds not spent by June 30, 2020, will revert to the DTC unless an extension is requested by the PI and granted by the DTC Director.

Jeremy R. Jenkins, DTC Assistant Director for Programs and Facilities ( or 612-625-4104).