Call for Proposals – 2022 Data Science for Social Good



Program Overview

The UW eScience Institute opened applications on January 4, 2022 for the eighth offering of the Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) summer program, which will run from June 13 to August 19, 2022. 

This is an opportunity to work closely with data science professionals and students to make better use of data. The Data Science for Social Good summer program at the University of Washington eScience Institute brings together data scientists and domain researchers to work on focused, collaborative projects for societal benefit. 

After running two successful DSSG programs remotely in 2020 and 2021, we are considering a hybrid model this year, in which some teams will work in-person on the campus of the University of Washington, and some teams will work remotely from wherever team members are based. This is contingent upon public health guidelines at the time as well as sufficient interest from prospective Project Leads. You will be asked to indicate if you are submitting an application for an in-person project, a remote project, or if you would be interested in participating in either format. 

We invite short proposals for 10-week data-intensive research projects requiring collaboration in data science approaches, such as scalable data management, statistical analysis, machine learning, open source software development, cloud and cluster computing, and data visualization. The program supports compelling, timely, publicly-relevant projects that are poised to take advantage of tremendous student and professional technical talent and computation resources. If you have an idea for a project that could benefit from access to a team of talented and motivated students, exposure to new data-intensive methods, and guidance in best practices for software development, reproducible science, and human-centered design, then we would love to hear from you.  

We seek proposals that are methodologically rigorous and designed to address societal challenges in areas such as human services, public policy, health and safety, environmental impacts, transportation, accessibility, social justice, and urban informatics. We welcome proposals submitted by academic researchers, public agencies, non-profit entities, and industry.

Accepted proposals will need to designate a Project Lead (usually the author(s) of the proposal) who will closely collaborate with one or more Data Scientists from the eScience Institute and an interdisciplinary team of 4-5 student fellows supported by eScience (see sections on Project Team Composition, Location, Time Commitment, and Financial Support below).

In reviewing the proposals, we will be looking for projects with well-defined deliverables that clearly articulate how the DSSG program can help advance your project. Projects from our previous DSSG programs may serve as useful inspiration. Click for summaries of projects from the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 DSSG summer programs.

To learn more about last year’s program, read our blogs about final project presentations.

This program is sponsored in part by an award from the Micron Foundation.

Important Dates for DSSG 2022

Tuesday, January 4, 2022: Proposal submission form opens.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 9:00-10:00am: Information Session via Zoom. Register here. A recording of the session can be found here:

Friday, February 18, 2022 Midnight PT: Deadline for submitting project proposals

Wednesday, March 2, 2022: Project proposal short-list notification

Friday, March 25, 2022: Target for notification of project selection

April – June 2022: Project scoping meetings with data scientists (2-3 meetings)

Monday, June 13  – Friday, Aug 19, 2022: DSSG Program

Project Team Composition

DSSG projects will be executed by a team consisting of one or two external Project Leads (typically the authors of the proposal), one or more Data Scientists from the eScience Institute, and four or five students (graduate and advanced undergraduate) who will be selected and paid by the eScience Institute.

The Project Lead is expected to submit the project proposal. Together with the Data Scientists, the Project Lead will co-manage the student teams. The Project Lead will bear primary responsibility for project design and execution throughout the summer. The Data Scientists will provide guidance on methods, technologies, and best practices for producing knowledge from large, noisy, and/or heterogeneous datasets, as well as general software engineering. Student responsibilities will vary from project to project, but their role may include developing code, selecting methods, conducting analyses, contributing to design, preparing documentation, producing visualizations, and incorporating stakeholder perspectives into the project. The project team may also include external mentors and stakeholders as appropriate.

In addition to their direct contributions to projects, students and Project Leads will have the opportunity to participate in a number of technical tutorials, discussion-based workshops, and subject matter talks.


After running a distributed DSSG program for the last two years due to COVID-19, we realized that remote work confers many advantages to some individuals, expands opportunities for participation, and can be executed quite successfully. However, we also realize that many people miss the opportunity to collaborate in person. 

Therefore, we are planning to offer both remote and in-person options for the program this summer, so long as conditions allow. This means that some project teams will conduct their work in-person at the Data Science Studio on the University of Washington campus, while other project teams will conduct their work remotely using online platforms to facilitate collaboration at a distance. Prospective Project Leads and Prospective Student Fellows will be asked to indicate their preferences for remote or in-person work at the time of applying. We will honor these preferences when selecting projects and teams (i.e. we will only run a project remotely if that is the Project Lead’s preference, and we will only assign students to a remote team if they are interested in working remotely).

Time Commitment

The DSSG program takes place from mid June through late August. Project Leads participate in program-wide activities and should be available to their student teams on average 16 hours per week for the duration of the 10-week program (13 June – 19 August). 

For the most part, Project Leads have the flexibility to establish a work schedule that makes sense for them and their teams. However, please note that Project Leads are expected to take part in certain program-wide activities, and so some flexibility in their availability is essential. The first week of the program consists of several mandatory orientation and teamwork sessions that require Project Lead participation, and Project Leads are also expected to participate in program-wide meetings that recur weekly or biweekly throughout the summer. 

Data Scientists from eScience also commit the equivalent of 16 hours per week to project support and mentorship, while student fellows will be employed full-time throughout the summer, and are expected to work on their assigned projects during regular business hours Monday-Friday. For teams that will be conducting their work entirely remotely, differing time zones will be taken into account in determining meeting times.

Financial Support

We expect that in most cases, a Project Lead will be participating in the DSSG program in the capacity of an existing full-time position that covers their salary. Therefore we generally do not provide funds to support Project Lead participation in the program. However, we recognize that in some circumstances, a Project Lead may require financial support. This might include a university faculty member without summer grant funding, an employee of an under-resourced community organization with limited funds to support the proposed work, and other circumstances. In such cases, a prospective Project Lead may apply for supplemental funds to facilitate their participation. 

If you are submitting a project proposal to the DSSG program and are also interested in applying for Project Lead funding, you will be asked to describe the circumstances that warrant this request and state the amount of money you are requesting. The level of support we can provide will depend on the number of requests we receive and the availability of funds.

Click HERE to apply for Project Lead funding. 

Proposal Submissions

Project proposals should be submitted through the online submission form by midnight (Pacific Time) on February 18th. The proposal form can be accessed HERE

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see our FAQ page for prospective Project Leads.


If you are considering submitting a project proposal to the DSSG, we hope you’ll attend our information session listed above, but we also strongly encourage you to reach out to us early on with any questions you may have about the program, selection process, or what makes a successful project. For general inquiries, please contact DSSG Program Chair Anissa Tanweer (

Additional Opportunities

Projects that apply data science methods to social issues but do not meet all of the criteria for a DSSG proposal are encouraged to get in touch as well. Whether your project is early stage, short-term, or requires work beyond the summer, opportunities are available through the eScience Institute and its partners. Please see below.

The eScience Institute’s Data Science Incubator pairs data and domain scientists to work on selected projects in the areas of large-scale data manipulation and analytics, cloud and cluster computing, statistics and machine learning, and visualization to help researchers extract knowledge from large, complex, and noisy datasets.

The Master of Science in Data Science program offers an opportunity to partner with students on a capstone project intended for students to complete all phases of a data science solution. Students will be responsible for querying and processing data, developing feature sets and applying appropriate algorithms, and creating a basic user interface for receiving data analysis. For more information contact


“Working with the DSSG summer fellows and data scientists has transformed our software eiCompare from a basic package to a cutting edge, sophisticated software suite that can clean and process voting data, identify and detect patterns of vote dilution, map and layout districting solutions and much more. What is really exciting is that we engaged with stakeholders from leading national organizations that defend voting rights, and they were all eager to incorporate and adopt the updated software and programming that the fellows built with us. So we know that in the redistricting process next year, our work this summer will definitely be out there doing social good!”

– Matt Barreto, 2020 DSSG project lead