Become an expert in residence

BU Spark!, through the Boston University Faculty of Computing & Data Science (CDS) invites applications for its visiting Experts in Residence Program. The Program offers individuals with relevant expertise the opportunity to spend up to one year with CDS to lend their knowledge to students and faculty. They are also given the opportunity to pursue projects with the support of student teams supported by Spark!, a technology incubator and experiential learning lab within CDS.

Experts in residence are accepted on a competitive basis for an annual position beginning at the start of an academic semester (Fall, Summer, or Spring). Spark! takes into account each prospective expert in residence’s professional expertise in interdisciplinary computing topics relevant to the current portfolio of projects at Spark!, as well as scholarly or professional achievements, areas of interest, institutional affiliations, and proposed collaboration. Experts in residence should have knowledge about specific technical areas such as data science, machine learning, and software engineering. 

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Spark! is looking for applicants who have experience in applying computing and data science technical knowledge to any of the following thematic domains:

  • Criminal justice: Police, prosecutors, courts, judges, public defenders, prisons, and justice for juveniles and incarcerated individuals.
  • Education: Equity, student performance in K-12, and youth development.
  • Housing: Equity, land use, real estate, and development.
  • Elections and campaigns: Voting, campaign finance, redistricting, and more.
  • Government and urban mechanics: Government service delivery and management (311, transportation, public health, etc.).
  • Human trafficking and forced migration: Global and local immigration issues, exploitation of vulnerable populations, and human security.
  • Sustainability: Climate, waste, environmental justice, and more.
  • Public health: Infectious diseases, gun violence, chronic disease, and more.

Computing and data science areas of expertise may include:

  • Statistics
  • Machine learning
  • Data mining
  • Software engineering
  • Human-centered computing and UX design
  • Data Visualization

Spark! considers candidates from a wide range of perspectives including government, industry, academia, nonprofits, and activism/ advocacy. Special consideration is given to BU alumni.



Experts in residence will be assigned a student team to work on a project of their choosing through a curricular or extra-curricular structure. They will be provided with targeted mentoring opportunities for students who are working on projects through the Technology Innovation Program or the X-Lab.

Experts in residence benefit from an accommodating place to pursue their work and the ability to exchange ideas with CDS faculty, other experts in residence, our partner organizations, our students, and the diverse Boston community. Experts will also have the opportunity to:

  • Attend lectures, events, and conferences
  • Access BU’s resources, including an extensive library
  • Present the results of their project through an event organized by Spark!
  • Receive an honorarium of $5,000 per year (three semesters)

Though not an expectation, additional opportunities can be provided for guest lectures, workshops, or other collaborations.



Applicants must meet the following criteria and agree to the following commitments:

  • Complete an applications
  • Commit to providing approximately five hours per month to mentor three student teams
  • Host weekly office hours as part of their weekly time commitment
  • Submit a project description with an outline of skills needed for student recruitment

If needed, applicants should get approval from their employer to join this program.



Experts in residence will be onboarded prior to the Fall, Summer, and Spring semester with a brief orientation to Spark!, CDS, and BU. These orientations will take place in late August, January, and May. Exceptions may apply.


Application process

Applications to the program are reviewed on a rolling basis. If approved, will receive an appointment as a visiting expert in residence to Spark! and CDS. Questions about the Program may be emailed to

Apply now