How to Apply - Projects

DSPG Program Application

Call for Project Proposals — Deadline February 29, 2024

To submit an application, go here after reading the details below: Proposal Application Form. 


Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) is a program that leverages the power data science approaches to address issues and provide solutions for Iowa communities through student summer projects and through engagement with Cooperative Extension. The project is part of a tri-state collaboration involving the University of Virginia, Oregon State University, Iowa State University, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University. It is funded by USDA NIFA and by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The student summer projects will focus on acquiring, leveraging, and analyzing (publicly) available data. These 10 week projects are intended to (i) provide graduate and undergraduate students with collaborative data science research experiences in real-world settings; and (ii) provide stakeholders with data science analyses relevant to a specific issue of interest.

Students will work together in teams led by one graduate student and two to three undergraduate students, guided and mentored by a faculty member (and their team) with expertise in the relevant problem area. The students will conduct data analyses (which can include finding, retrieving and collating data sets from various sources) to address problems or questions of interest to stakeholders.

The graduate and undergraduate students will participate in data skills camp as needed. The graduate students will receive specialized training prior to the start of the program and will participate in primarily as mentors to the undergraduates.

The graduate students will likely be members of the supporting faculty research group. Undergraduate students will be recruited from colleges and universities nationally, with preference given to students from Iowa.

Depending on funding, up to five summer projects will be funded (student stipends including graduate student tuition, 0.5 months faculty summer salary, travel and supplies).

Call for Project Proposals

The Data Science for Public Good program invites faculty, state and county agencies, non-profits and communities to apply to be a DSPG project. Suitable projects will have the following characteristics:

  1. A small Iowa community or stakeholder (could be an individual, small business, a community, farmer cooperative, local or state government or agency, non-profit, etc) that has an issue that could be addressed through a data analysis, and that is interested in engaging in the project.
  2. A faculty member (could be an Extension faculty, or a team of faculty) with the expertise to guide the student team and to address the issue, and who will commit some time and effort to the project (includes Spring preparation and some Summer mentoring).
  3. The data necessary to address the issue exists and is available to the DSPG team.
  4. The scope of the issue and the data are suitable for a 10-week project.
  5. The project should address some element of the public good or rural prosperity.
  6. Grant or other funding source to sponsor and support the DSPG project. Past fees have been ~$30,000 per project.

Ongoing projects involving ISU researchers and rural stakeholders are eligible. This opportunity is also ideal for pilot projects.

Questions, Contact, More information, and Proposal Guidelines

For more detailed information on DSPG, see the main ISU DSPG page at