Emergent Data Sciences Program


Value & Duration
Between CDN $50,000 and CDN $100,000 for 1 to 2 years
Stage 1: LOI Deadline
April 12, 2024, 23:59 PM ET
Stage 2: Full Proposal Deadline
June 28, 2024, 23:59 PM ET
August 2024
Program Start
January 2025


Supporting emergent areas of data science is a core activity of the Data Sciences Institute (DSI) that helps to fulfil its mission of bringing people together for collaborative generation and application of new ideas in the data sciences.

Through the Emergent Data Sciences Program, the DSI funds leading researchers to galvanize, support, and advance data science work in key interdisciplinary areas where the University of Toronto excels or has the potential to excel. Primary funded activities should prioritize research concentration on leading topics with the objective of building or strengthening communities and linkages within the University of Toronto. Example activities that are eligible for funding include workshops, seminars, conferences, distinguished lectures, and training sessions that range in length and should involve long and short-term visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and students.

The DSI encourages proposals for Emergent Data Science Programs that include a broad span of activity that can lead to the development of innovative data science methodologies, deep connections with computation and applied disciplines, new training programs, collaboration, knowledge mobilization, and impact beyond the academy. Ideal program proposals should establish or elevate interdisciplinary activity that advance the data sciences by pursuing the next big-but-yet-unknown data-driven field or computational or analytic breakthrough. Thoughtful blue-sky ideas are welcome.

Situated within the broader DSI ecosystem, Emergent Data Science Programs will run for one or two years, with a potential for extension and further funding. Programs should aim to draw a global presence in their research scope and in the diversity of their visitors and distinguished lecturers. Proposed Emergent Data Science Programs should include a longer-term plan that outlines how the research activities could be sustained beyond the initial DSI funding period, which could include activities such as working towards implementing new education programs or applying for a significant external research grant.

The DSI will fund Emergent Data Science Programs for $50,000 to $100,000. Funding can be used to invite visitors, to support postdoctoral fellows and students to assist with organizing program activities, and to develop community-building events. In addition, Emergent Data Science Programs will receive administrative support from DSI staff to coordinate events, communications, and programming as well as grant-writing support.

Applicants should apply in teams of at least 2 PIs who will act as program Co-Leads. Co-Leads should come from different disciplinary units within the University of Toronto or DSI partner institutions; proposals should explain how the disciplinary backgrounds of each Co-Lead will contribute to interdisciplinary excellence within the Emergent Data Science Program.

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Propose and develop programming 
  • Engage with members of the DSI community via networking and community-building events. 
  • Work to build new partnerships with appropriate community and/or industrial partners.

For applicants looking for examples of active EDS programs, please see Toward a Fair and Inclusive Future of Work with ChatGPT (co-sponsored by the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society) and Causal Inference: Bringing together data science and causal inference for better policy recommendations.

The DSI is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

How to Apply

The award is open to PIs who meet the following criteria: 

*Faculty budgetary appointments for the University of Toronto are continuing, full-time academic appointments with salary commitments from a University of Toronto academic unit.

Applications are submitted via the DSI Good Grants application portal.

Register an account and select “Start Application” for “Emergent Data Sciences Program.”

DSI Good Grants Dashboard

Stage 1: Letter of Intent

The application is divided into tabs; each tab includes a set of instructions and fields to fill out. These instructions are also highlighted below.

Applicants will need to complete the following fields.

Tab 1: Start Here

  • Title

Tab 2: Administrative Information

  • Duration
  • Amount

Tab 3: Team Information

Click “Add contributor” and a series of fields will appear. You will need the following information for each PI:

  • Role
  • Name
  • Email
  • Institution
  • Division (if applicable)
  • Unit (if applicable)

Tab 4: Proposal

Rationale, Goals, & Objectives (maximum 500 words): comment on the following:

  • Program description
  • Program objectives
  • Role of the University of Toronto research ecosystem

Impact & Alignment (maximum 500 words): comment on the following:

  • Alignment with the DSI mandate
  • Impact on the data sciences
  • Impact on equity, diversity, and inclusion within the data sciences

Roles, Expertise, & Collaboration (maximum 500 words): comment on the following:

  • Expertise of Co-Leads
  • Rationale and vision for this team and this program

Unit Head Signatures: Please use the provided template, convert to .pdf, and upload unit head signatures for all PIs.

Tab 5: CVs

Upload a CV for each PI.

Demographic Survey

Once an application is submitted on or before March 8th, the applicant or the person submitting on their behalf will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to a Demographic Survey. While this survey is required, when filling it out respondents have the option to select “Prefer not to answer” for all questions. This link should be shared with all PIs who will have until March 15 to fill it out.

Stage 2: Full Proposal

If invited to stage 2, applicants will be able to edit their LOI into a full proposal. Information on the "Team Information" and "Proposal" tabs can be updated, and written responses to the "Rationale, Goals, & Objectives," "Impact & Alignment," and "Roles, Expertise, & Collaboration" questions can increase their word counts from 500 to 1000 words. New proposal components will become available:

Program< (maximum 1000 words): comment on the following:

  • Program structure
  • Description of activities
  • Schedule

Potential Participants (maximum 250 words): comment on the following:

  • Interest from potential speakers
  • Interest from the data sciences community
  • Interest from beyond the academy

Training (maximum 250 words): comment on the following:

  • Explain how the program will integrate postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students, and other trainees
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion in training & recruitment

Metrics of Success & Impact (maximum 250 words): comment on the following:

  • Please define the team's metrics for the success and impact of the proposed program./li>

Sustainability Plan (maximum 250 words): comment on the following:

  • Please outline plans to continue this program beyond the duration of funding. This could include:
  • Major grant application
  • Publication
  • White paper
  • Training Program
  • Etc.


Suggested Reviewers

Letters of Intent will be reviewed by members of the DSI Research and Academics Committee. Reviewers will be asked to consider the following categories:

  • Program rationale and the extent to which it aligns with the DSI mandate.
  • The potential impact of the program on data science research.
  • The extent to which the program benefits the University of Toronto data sciences research ecosystem.

Full proposals will be sent to external reviewers and then selected by a review panel. Applicants will have a chance to suggest external reviewers in their proposals.

All application materials can be submitted directly onto the form. Certain fields on the form ask for uploads and require the following templates:

Further Information

For more information, please contact awards.dsi@utoronto.ca.