Proposal development, submission, and evaluation process

In pursuit of the Hariri Institute’s mission to catalyze and propel collaborative, interdisciplinary research through the use of computational and data-driven approaches, the Institute supports a portfolio of ambitious computational research projects, as well as forward-looking educational and outreach initiatives at Boston University.

In this role, the Institute sees itself as a partner, not simply a funding source.

The process for exploring and developing projects to be sponsored by the Institute encourages principal investigators (PIs) to involve the Institute in shaping and refining their research ideas, suggesting potential collaborations, identifying additional or alternative sources of funding, and finding other creative ways to help support the project. To this end, it is highly recommended that PIs discuss project ideas with the Institute Director or Associate Director from the earliest conception stages of the project, and all the way through the proposal development and submission process.

Within the scope of its mission, the Institute is fairly flexible in the range of projects and activities it can support with preference to new (as opposed to existing) collaborations. Possibilities include (but not limited to):

  • Seed projects to explore novel ideas
  • Unusual and creative collaborative projects
  • Translational research or reduction to practice research activities
  • Special events, workshops, or symposia exploring promising interdisciplinary computational science

In general, the Institute can support typical research project costs, excluding PI/faculty salaries.

The process for securing funding from the Institute is designed to be fairly lightweight, imposing minimal overhead on PIs. It proceeds in the four phases summarized below:

  1. PI submits a brief proposal (about 2 pages, including a budget sketch and other resource needs) by completing an online Project Proposal Form.
  2. The Institute leadership will review the initial proposal, and will provide timely feedback regarding the suitability for and likelihood of funding in light of the Institute’s existing portfolio of projects and initiatives. Additionally, they may communicate ideas for refinements, suggestions for collaborations, and other possible sources of support.
  3. In most cases, the PI will be invited to pitch the idea to the Institute community by giving a talk about the proposed activity. Upon consultation with the PI, key faculty affiliates (including members of the Institute’s Executive Steering Committee) will be invited to the presentation.
  4. The Executive Steering Committee makes the final decision on which projects to support.

There is one primary cycle for proposals during the year that takes place in the spring .  Project support can be requested to begin that summer, fall or the following spring depending on resource availability.  We anticipate the next round for submission as follows.  The exact deadline will be announced later in the year.

Requested Start Date Submission Deadline
Summer/Fall 2015 or Spring 2016 Semester Spring 2015

PIs are encouraged to submit their proposals as early as possible to maximize the opportunity for the Instititute leadership to provide feedback and to be able to schedule follow-up pitch talk as described above. The Institute may decide to support selected projects outside of the three main cycles, if appropriate.

Proposals should include:

  • Names and contact information for the PI(s)
  • A 1-2 page description of the proposed work
  • A summary of the required resources (budget and otherwise)
  • A description of the expected reporting for the project (including expected deliverables

For supported projects, the Institute will also need a description of the project for posting on the Institute web site and for use in reports about the work of the Institute, as well as copies of any documents delivered by the project (research papers, reports, etc.). When appropriate, the Institute will publish such documents as Institute technical reports. For most projects, it is expected that one or more of the participants will give a talk as part of the Institute lectureship series. Finally, at the conclusion of the project, the Institute requires the submission of a short report summarizing all activities and accomplishments.

For more information, contact Linda Grosser, Director, Program and Project Development, of the Hariri Institute, at