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Data Science for the Public Good
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Call for Project Proposals - Deadline January 31, 2020


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



Rural Data Science for the Public Good is a project that supports the use of data science approaches to address issues of rural communities (defined broadly) 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 be focused on analysis of data provided by rural stakeholders. 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 rural stakeholders with data science analyses relevant to a specific issue of interest.

The students will work together in teams composed of one graduate student and two 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 specific rural stakeholders.

The graduate and undergraduate students will participate in a two-week data skills camp at the start of the 10-week period. The graduate students will receive specialized training prior to the two-week camp and will participate in the camp primarily as mentors to the undergraduates.

The graduate students will likely be members of the supporting faculty research group. The undergraduates will be recruited from any Oregon college or university, and will ideally be from a rural background.

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 - Deadline January 31, 2020

We invite faculty, including Extension faculty, to propose summer projects. Suitable projects will have the following characteristics:

  1. A rural 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 the necessary time and effort to the project (includes Spring preparation and Summer mentoring).

  3. The data necessary to address the issue exists and is available to the faculty team. (It’s OK if the project includes collecting and collating data from several sources).

  4. The scope of the issue and the data are suitable for a 10-week project.

  5. The project should ideally address some element of the public good or rural prosperity. Projects aimed at economic mobility (improving the lives of the poorest members of rural communities) are especially encouraged.

Ongoing projects involving OSU 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 OSU DSPG page at https://workspace.oregonstate.edu/data-science-for-the-public-good

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

If you are not sure whether your project idea qualifies or is suitable please get in touch with Shawn O’Neil (shawn.oneil@cgrb.oregonstate.edu) or Brett Tyler (brett.tyler@cgrb.oregonstate.edu) to discuss - ideally at least a month before the deadline. We will be happy to help you flesh out your idea.

If you are aware of a potential stakeholder project, but feel you are not the right person to mentor the project, or are missing key expertise, get in touch and we will try to help identify an appropriate OSU research team. Again, ideally at least a month before the deadline.


Dates and Deadlines

RDSPG is currently funded for one year, with summer projects running from June 22 to August 28, 2020. Deadline for project proposals (this form) is January 31, 2020.