The Data Science Institute (DSI) at the University of Virginia welcomes applications for 2019-20 Presidential Fellows in Data Science.

These fellowships are awarded to PhD candidates in any school. Fellows with novel project ideas work collaboratively with peers who are skilled in data science tools and techniques on impactful, innovative research. Previous teams have studied, for example, the use of virtual reality to reduce K-12 classroom conflict, AI to improve diagnostic capabilities for Parkinson’s, text analytics to understand cyber recruiting by terrorist groups, and machine learning to understand how pollution affects marginalized communities.

Learn about past fellows

Students may apply to the program in one of two ways: either as a domain-area applicant or as a data science partner. 

Domain-area applicants specialize in a particular field but may lack data science skills. Data science partners will be well-versed in data science tools and techniques and are excited to partner on a project in another research domain. The top domain-area and partner applicants will be invited to mixer event during the first week of February where domain-area applicants will pitch their ideas and identify partners and mentors. The event will allow domain-area applicants to get to know potential partners with data science skills. It is expected that teams will form shortly after this event. These teams (usually pairs) will jointly prepare a team application.

Domain-area applications are due Feb. 4 and data science partner applications are due Feb. 7. Invitees will be selected based on applications.

All team members must:

  • Be a current UVA PhD candidate (preference is given to students who have completed all or most of their coursework)

  • Propose an innovative project related to their own research that requires data science tools and knowledge to complete

  • Be available to focus on their proposed project full-time for 12 months (no coursework, teaching obligations, or other work commitments)

  • Have the approval of their PhD adviser to pursue this 12-month fellowship

Successful applicants will:

  • Receive a 12-month stipend of $30,000. Fellowships may begin anytime between June and August 2019

  • Receive tuition and fees of up to $11,000 total (summer tuition not included)

  • Receive graduate student health insurance subsidy (single coverage)

  • Be matched with a DSI mentor who will co-advise the fellow alongside their PhD advisers

  • Have access to tailored professional development experiences

Submit a Domain-area Application

Submit a Data Science Partner Application

Once Domain Applicants and Data Science partners identify each other following the mixer and agree to collaborate, they must prepare the following materials to submit on February 25, 2019:

  • A revised project proposal, not to exceed five pages that addresses:

    • The significance of the research question for various disciplines

    • The data science tools and approaches that will be applied to this question and why these are appropriate and novel

    • A project timeline

    • How the project will address the DSI’s emphasis on ethics and openness

  • Letter of support from each team member’s academic adviser.

Selection criteria:

  • Project poses an interesting and compelling data science question.

  • Project has high likelihood of completion and publication. (Evidence of adequate data, support, feasibility)

  • Project takes seriously the DSI’s emphasis on ethics and openness

Submit a Joint Proposal

Presidential fellows are required to:

  • Actively engage with the program and DSI activities, including events, lecture series, advisory board meetings, etc.

  • Forego other teaching, research and work obligations while on the fellowship.

  • Demonstrate progress on their research projects through oral presentations with the goal of progressing toward a publishable paper. Attend all cohort meetings/workshops and progress report presentations. There will be at least one of these each month. This will include a day-long orientation in August and a final conference in early May.

  • Fellows are encouraged to participate in events with students in the Data Science Masters program (MSDS), including pitch day (August), progress report (December) and capstone presentations (April).

  • Complete four Data Science modules selected from DSI online content (e.g. technical bootcamp), UVA workshops (e.g. CADRE, ARCS, Library), and/or PhDPlus. You will work with Dr. Scholz to determine which of these are appropriate to your needs and skill level.

Presidential Fellows are a vital part of the DSI community and are expected to be active in DSI activities throughout the funding period. Teaching/Research Assistantships and other forms of employment may not be held concurrently with the fellowship.

Questions may be addressed to DSI Associate Director of Research Development Dr. Claudia Scholz

Please also consult the Frequently-asked Questions (FAQs).