See our main Community Development and Engagement Program page for more information. Please contact us directly at if your questions are not answered below.

Q: Where do I find the MBDH Priority and Crosscutting Theme Areas?

Midwest Big Data Hub website

Q: Where do I submit my proposal?

Please use our EasyChair Submission process.

Q: What do I need to include in my proposal?

Our Proposal Template (.docx file) specifies the information you need to include, but see the answers below for additional guidance.

Q: When are proposal submissions due?

This call has a rolling deadline for submissions. Please notify us ( that you intend to develop a proposal before submitting.

Q: How many projects do you expect to support with this call?

We anticipate supporting 3–4 projects in this cycle.

Q: When will proposers be notified of the review committee’s decision?

We expect to notify applicants of acceptance or decline within 30 days of proposal submission.

Q: What specifically am I awarded if my proposal is accepted?

Project activities are a partnership between the project teams and the MBDH. Support for proposals that are selected will primarily be made in the form of in-kind staff time to assist with project coordination support, administrative and logistical support, and event facilitation if those are not available from the proposer’s home institution. Participant support for attendees (especially students and qualifying speakers) may also be available. Proposers must follow NSF PAPPG rules, including developing codes of conduct for events (the MBDH can assist with this).

Support requested from the MBDH should be clearly described in the project plan as distinct from activities the proposing team intends to lead. More detailed guidance is provided in the proposal template (.docx file) and in the question below on the support-template details. No direct funding will be awarded to proposers unless otherwise negotiated.

Q: What is the maximum budget allowed for this call?

This proposal does not require a typical financial budget since the support provided is primarily in-kind. Institutional overhead, indirect costs, facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, etc., are not provided through this program. Please see the following question about information required in the support template for more details.

Q: What information should I include in my requested support template?

The support template should include details of all assistance you are requesting from the MBDH to successfully complete the proposed project. This includes as much detail as possible on in-kind support such as project coordination, outreach, communications, event planning, or facilitation elements that the MBDH would be coordinating on behalf of the proposers, clearly separated from elements that are in the proposer’s control. If you are seeking Participant Support for student participation, please provide detail on the number of students, the specific activities they would be engaged in, and an estimated cost. We encourage proposers from small institutions (2-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and other non-R1 institutions) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), to include salary support in their budgets if that is a deciding factor in their ability to participate.

Q: What type of events/activities are covered by this call?

This call is focused on community-building activities. Research projects by individual investigators are not in scope for this program. Proposals submitted for Community Development and Engagement (CDE) activities could include, but are not limited to, activities such as:

  • • Proposal-development workshops that address capacity building in one or more of the MBDH Priority Areas, or which help the Hub move toward long-term sustainability. These could include NSF solicitations from relevant programs at NSF, other funding agencies, or foundations.
  • • Partnerships between academia, industry, and/or government that focus on domain expert-driven hackathons and data challenges, particularly those focused on student mentoring and skill development.
  • • Development of curricula or best practices for online data science education to address workforce development opportunities, including underrepresented and nontraditional students.
  • • Activities that convene stakeholders around research data management topics, such as developing data sharing agreements, data quality standards and best practices, or use cases for interdisciplinary data collaboration. The MBDH supports the FAIR and CARE principles.
  • • Summer Institutes for data science education, including for early-career researchers.
  • • Proposals for matching industry internships in the MBDH Priority Areas to foster longer-term relationships or to develop student workforce pipelines, especially for underserved institutions.
  • • Train-the-Trainer events on data science topics that focus on one of the MBDH Priority Areas.
  • • Efforts to extend data science training and workforce development to nontraditional students, local government employees and community organizations such as nonprofits, or to members of underrepresented groups.

The CDE projects from rounds 1 and 2 are examples of relevant activities, but we encourage proposers to think creatively.

Q: What types of proposals are preferred?

Preference will be given to activities or events occurring within the 12-state Midwest region, and which are open to participants from outside the host institution.

Successful proposals will help to reduce the friction between the development and use of data and data infrastructure and will help build capacity in data science expertise in the Midwest through workforce development, training, and education.

Q: Is there a geographic restriction on who can be a PI/co-PI?

The lead proposer/PI must be primarily affiliated with an academic, governmental, or nonprofit organization within the 12-state Midwest Big Data Hub region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). Proposers who are currently funded by the NSF BD Hubs program must have collaborators from other, non-funded institutions on their proposals.

Q: Can there be other sponsors for the event/activity?

Yes, gathering support from other sponsors is highly recommended, since the Community Development and Engagement funds may not cover the totality of costs associated with the organization of the activity (for example, salary time spent by PIs and organizers need to be covered by the home institution/organization). Registration fees for events are not allowed.

Q: Can activities scheduled more than a year away apply for CDE support?

Activities should be completed within 18 months of award. Due to the ongoing pandemic as well as the goal of being as inclusive for participation as possible, virtual or hybrid events and activities are preferred. The MBDH Seed Fund Steering Committee may review its guidelines regarding award completion as the situation evolves.

Q: Who should I contact with other questions?

Please email