Research Incubation Awards

The Institute supports a portfolio of ambitious research projects and activities that align with its mission to catalyze new directions and collaborations in interdisciplinary research that applies computational and data-driven approaches. By supporting projects in fields from social sciences, humanities, law, business, and medicine – to engineering, computer science, and statistics, the Research Incubation Awards advance the Institute’s goal of bringing together and building a community of researchers across schools and colleges at BU.

In addition to the main RIA program, the Institute is happy to offer four special tracks for projects aimed at specific themes of interest to the Institute and other organizations. If your project is a better fit for one of these tracks, please consider selecting that track instead of the main program. 

In this research award program, the Institute sees itself not only as a funding source but also as a partner. We encourage principal investigators to involve the Institute early to discuss proposal ideas.

The deadline for proposal submission is April 11, 2019 at 5pm.


Artificial Intelligence Research (AIR) Initiative

The Artificial Intelligence Research initiative is a cross-disciplinary research initiative focused on machine learning of intelligence. In this track, the Institute is seeking research projects focused on emerging technologies in Artificial Intelligence including, but not limited to machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, and robotics. In pursuit of these goals, this special track seeks multi-disciplinary proposals that explore novel AI algorithms and/or applications.

Digital Health Initiative (DHI)

The Digital Health Initiative, in collaboration with the Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy, seeks to support multidisciplinary research leveraging technologies and methodologies from computing and data sciences to tackle modern healthcare’s greatest challenges, from medical informatics to healthcare delivery and patient activation. This track seeks projects that incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches in the development, deployment, and assessment of novel digital health solutions. Such approaches can include tools and technologies that draw from computer vision, natural language processing, machine learning, robotics, human-computer interaction, or combinations thereof to address critical healthcare and health system needs.

Red Hat Collaboratory

The Red Hat Collaboratory supports research that leverages Red Hat’s experience working with and influencing upstream communities. In this track, the Institute is seeking projects that Red Hat engineers can help support in the open and which would result in valuable contributions to open-source communities. This year, the Collaboratory is particularly interested in two areas. The first is on computationally driven privacy-preserving data analysis, which is compliant with organizational data governance processes. This includes research to integrate technologies such as differential privacy, secure multi-party computing, and block chain into workflows that allow open communities to leverage private data sets for a wide range of applications. The second is on novel operating system/processor combinations, such as projects on FPGA and unikernels, and the implications these systems have for software development and security up the entire stack.

Urban Climate Initiative

The Urban Climate Initiative researches both the impacts of and solutions to climate change in urban environments. Cities are increasingly bearing the impacts of climate extremes, including flood and heat events and unhealthy levels of air pollution. What happens in cities over the next few decades will determine how severely our future world is shaped by climate change. This special track seeks pilot-scale research projects that utilize novel data sources and/or advanced data analytic tools to foster new knowledge on climate change impacts, adaptation, or mitigation in the urban setting.


Research Incubation Award FAQs

For technical/research-related questions, please contact Andrei Lapets, Director of Research Development, at

For administrative questions, please contact Katherine D’Angelo, Program and Events Manager, at