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The mission of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute (HPE DSI) is to promote data science throughout the University of Houston for the benefit of its students and of the Houston community. One of the HPE DSI’s initiatives in the pursuit of this objective is the establishment of a Seed Funding Program open to all tenured or tenure-track faculty members and full-time NTT researchers of the University. Individuals associated in any capacity with the HPE DSI or with the UH Center for Advanced Computing and Data Science (CACDS) are barred from participation in the program.

The purpose of the awards is to help recipients develop new data-science-focused activities with
the ultimate objective of enabling them to submit research proposals to external funding agencies, companies or foundations.

For the current funding cycle (FY 2019) proposals directed at the four thrust areas recently
established by UH – Cyber-Physical Security, Drug Development/Discovery, Sustainable Communities/Infrastructure and Accessible Health Care – are particularly encouraged. Sufficient funds for 4-6 awards are available.


The following awards were made in FY 2019:
  • Deep Learning Based Intrusion Detection Approaches for Advanced Traffic Management Systems (Cyber-Physical Security) - Yunpeng Zhang, College of Technology
  • Fast Evaluation of Level and Quality of Groundwater in Greater Houston Area using a Data-Driven Model Approximating High-Fidelity Flow Model (Sustainable Communities/Infrastructure) - Kyung Jae Lee, Petroleum Engineering
  • Data-Driven Discovery of Red-Emitting Phosphors for Affordable, Energy-Efficient LED Lighting (Sustainable Communities/Infrastructure) - Jakoah Brgoch, Chemistry
  • Towards Data-driven Windcatcher Deployment (Sustainable Communities/Infrastructure) - Rodolfo Ostilla Mónico, Mechanical Engineering)


Criteria for Award

Only proposals clearly grounded in data science, intending to develop new algorithms or techniques for data science applications, or devoted to problems that cannot be addressed without data science tools, will be considered. Each proposal must supply convincing evidence that the following criteria have been met or will be met:

1. The proposed activities represent high-quality data-science-focused research of significant ben- efit to science and/or society, which address at least one of the four institutional thrusts specified above.

2. A formal proposal must be submitted to an external agency by the end of the funding period.
Applications will be stringently reviewed with regard to the likelihood that the applicant will be able to meet this criterion.

3. Applicants must write a short progress report at 6 months that outlines progress towards completing the objectives of the grant and submission of the research proposal. In addition, a final report addressing the success of the grant proposals and the impact of the funding must be provided within two months after the end of the funding period. If a proposal resulting from the award is submitted to an external agency, this proposal can be submitted in lieu of the final report.

4. The review committee will rank each proposal in five domains on a 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) scale: (1) Impact and innovation of proposed research in the general area of data science;
(2) Quality of the research plan and methods; (3) Plan for grant submission, including the
timeline; (4) Investigator expertise and track record; (5) Long-term potential for substantive contributions to the data science research area.

Proposal Preparation

Proposals must conform to the following guidelines:

1. The proposal narrative should not exceed five pages with one-inch margins and the font size should be 11 pt Ariel. The following sections should be included: (1) Objectives and Specific Aims; (2) Significance and Impact; (3) Preliminary Results and Expertise; (4) Research Meth- ods; (5) Relation to Data Science Research; and (6) Timeline and Plans for Grant Submissions. These sections of the proposal must present a compelling rationale for the need of the funding and convincingly demonstrate how it will lead to the development of proposals to be submitted to external funding agencies;

2. The first page must indicate the title, name of the proposer (and, if appropriate, other partic- ipating faculty), a concise abstract, and signatures of the PI and department chair;

3. Any number of appendices of any length is allowed, but proposers are advised that, although evaluators may read them, they will not be required to do so;

4. Proposals must include a budget page with a detailed budget justification (limit 1 page);

5. Proposals must include a list of references and a two-page CV of the PI and any Co-PI including a list of their most significant and relevant papers;

6. Applicants should keep in mind that their proposals will be read by both specialists and non- specialists of their subject. While readers in the latter group are not expected to have a full understanding of the technical details, the proposal must be written so as to convey the essence of the proposed project to them as well; some specialists may want to refer to the Appendices for details.


Funding requests may range from $ 10,000 to $ 30,000 depending upon the duration, type and scope of research.

1. Support for faculty salaries is limited to $ 3,000 per grant and must be expressed in months.

2. Budgets will be critically reviewed. All budget items (including travel) should be supported by justifications, and the budget should include fringe benefits for salary requests.

3. Unless specifically part of the research program (for example, field work) travel is capped at
$ 2000 and is limited to the PI and one supported student or postdoc to attend a domestic conference or workshop. The meeting to be attended must be included in the budget and budget justification and related to data science. Foreign travel is not allowed unless specified as being part of the research program.

4. Applicants must provide a list of current and pending grant proposals and effort commitments for all investigators

5. Support for instructional development activities will not be considered for this program.


Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of evaluators appointed by the HPE DSI Executive Board expanded to include representatives from the Research and Scholarship Committee (RSC). The panel will prepare a ranked list of proposals and, in so doing, it may seek to balance the distribution of awards across disciplines if appropriate. While for FY 2019 sufficient funds are available for 4 to 6 awards, the actual number of awards granted will be at the discretion of the HPE DSI Executive Board including the representatives of the RSC.

Final Report

Within two months from the end of the funding period, awardees must submit a final report to the HPE DSI Director describing the project outcomes and resulting publications. If a proposal resulting from the award is submitted to an entity external to the University of Houston, this proposal can be submitted in lieu of the final report.

Congruency Review

Funds cannot be released until the proposal has undergone a research congruency review by the Office of Research integrity. Once this review has been completed, grant recipients must complete any additional requiremement within 3 months of submission or the award will be forfeited. This review includes any needed approval for the use of humans or animals in research.

Human Subjects Review/Animal Usage

All projects involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects before the grant cost center can be established.
All projects involving the use of animals in research must be reviewed and approved by the
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee before the grant cost center can be be established.

Intellectual Property

In accordance with University policy, faculty members and the University share in net income generated from intellectual property. For additional information, refer to the Faculty Handbook or contact the Office of Intellectual Property Management at 713-743-9155.

Reporting and Acknowledgement

Each grantee must submit a report not more than 60 days after completion of the grant describing the outcome of the project in terms of impact and grant success. In addition, a short progress report is required half-way through the project outlining progress in meeting the grant objectives and the grant submission timeline. Funding may be terminated for any investigator who does not submit timely progress reports or show adequate progress.

It is also the responsibility of each award recipient to furnish information to the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute concerning external applications that are submitted or awards received as a result of this funding. Such information should include the date of submission, the title of the project, inclusive dates, agency, total amount requested, and the status of each application. Failure to comply with this reporting requirement will disqualify an individual for future consideration in all internal funding programs sponsored by the Division of Research.

Notice must be given of publications or presentations resulting from the award. The grantee must acknowledge University support in all publications resulting from the award and provide one copy of the publication to the Data Science Instititute.

Proposal Application Deadline and Submission Contact

The proposal must be submitted here by 5:00 PM (CST) on Friday, September 14, 2018. No late applications will be accepted. The proposal must be approved by the department chair(s) and/or dean(s) of the department(s)/college(s) involved and both an unsigned as well as a signed pdf of the proposal must be uploaded. Questions related to this program can be directed to Dr. Andrea Prosperetti at

Effective Date Awards

All applicants will be notified of the review outcome with reviewers feedback by December 1, 2018. Awards will be effective January 15, 2018, for 12 months.

Important Dates

• September 14, 2018 Full-Proposals due to HPE DSI
• November 15, 2018 Initial Review Completed
• December 1, 2018 Announcement of Awards
• January 15, 2019 Effective Date of Award