Funding Opportunities

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2021 Call for Proposals and Nominations

The Science Hub for Humanity and Artificial Intelligence announces its 2021 Call for Research Project Proposals and Doctoral Student Fellow Nominations

The Science Hub is a collaborative effort between UCLA and Amazon with the mission to address humanity’s pressing challenges by cross-pollinating academic and industry research that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence. Each year, the Science Hub funds several research projects and doctoral student fellows through generous support from Amazon.

In the 2021 cycle, the Science Hub will award funding in the following research areas:

    • Foundations of AI and Machine Learning
    • Fairness, Explainability and Accountability in AI
    • AI for Robotics, Computer Vision, Speech and Natural Language Processing
    • AI in Medicine and Biology
    • AI in Business, Law, Humanities and Art.

Descriptions of how to apply are below. The deadline for proposals and nominations is November 19, 2021. Funding decisions will be announced in December 2021 and funding will begin in January 2022.

Questions can be sent to the Science Hub Director, Jens Palsberg, palsberg@ucla.edu.

Research Project Proposals

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The Science Hub invites research proposals from UCLA faculty across all departments at UCLA.

There are two types of funding mechanisms associated with the project proposals. One is a Sponsored Research Project, which may involve direct collaboration with Amazon researcher(s). The other mechanism is a Gift-Funded Research Project for more exploratory projects. All submitted proposals will be considered for both categories. Accepted proposals will be informed of their award type at the time of notification by the Science Hub.

Funding amount for each proposal

    • A maximum of $100,000 for direct costs; the Science Hub will pay the overhead separately.

Funding Timeline

    • Projects are expected to begin on Jan 1, 2022 and end no later than Sep 30, 2022.
    • The principal investigator is expected to present research progress at the annual Science Hub Research Showcase, which is planned for June 2022.
    • The principal investigator must submit a report  (4 pages maximum not including references) by Oct 31, 2022.

Proposal Materials

All proposal materials should be submitted in PDF format, single-spaced, 12pt font, one inch margins:

    • a project proposal (4 pages maximum not including references);
    • a project budget for direct costs, which may include support of post-doctoral researchers, Ph.D. students, research staff, and other UCLA students; and
    • CV’s for Faculty/Collaborators (2 page NSF or NIH style format).

Submission site

Deadline

  • November 19, 2021.

Doctoral Student Fellow Nominations

The Science Hub invites nominations for doctoral student fellows.

The fellowships will provide each selected doctoral graduate student with up to two quarters of funding during academic-year quarters to pursue independent research projects. In addition, the Fellows will have an opportunity to take part in paid summer internships at Amazon, gaining valuable industry insights and experience through direct engagement with Amazon researchers. The students awarded the fellowships will be known as Amazon Fellows.

Nominations for fellowships should be made by UCLA faculty. Students must be enrolled at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, be in good standing and have exhibited outstanding academic performance to be eligible for a fellowship. Additionally, students must be in the second, third, or fourth year of their Ph.D. studies.

 Funding amount for each fellow

    • Full funding (full tuition and 49% stipend) for the Winter and Spring 2022 quarters.

Fellowship Timeline

    • Fellowships are expected to begin January 1, 2022.
    • Fellows are expected to present their research progress at the annual Science Hub Research Showcase, which is planned for June 2022.
    • Fellows must submit a report by Jul 31, 2022.

Nomination materials

All nomination materials should be submitted in PDF format, single-spaced, 12pt font, one inch margins:

    • Student’s resume (2 pages maximum), with education history, awards, publications and link to his/her webpage;
    • Student’s personal statement, including a description of research interests (2 pages maximum, not including references); and
    • Two letters of recommendation from UCLA faculty members.

Submission site

Submit here.

Deadline

November 19, 2021.

    How We Evaluate Proposals and Nominations

    The Advisory Group will review research proposals and provide recommendations to the Science Hub Director. The Science Hub Director will make final recommendations to Amazon for the proposals on behalf of UCLA, taking into consideration UCLA’s academic mission, the mission and strategic vision of the Science Hub, the recommendations from the Advisory Group, and the potential impact of societal interest. Amazon executives will make final decisions regarding the funding of research proposals.

    The Advisory Group will review nominations for fellowships and provide recommendations to the Science Hub Director. The Science Hub Director will make final recommendations for Fellowships, taking into consideration UCLA’s academic mission, the mission and strategic vision of the Science Hub, the recommendations from the Advisory Group, and the potential impact of societal interest. The Dean of Engineering will make the final decisions for fellowships.

    During the review process, any person who has a conflict of interest with a proposal or a nomination will be excused from the review of that case.

    Amazon Research Liaison

    For every project that Amazon funds, it will assign an Amazon Research Liaison (ARL), who is a subject matter expert that will serve as your primary point of contact. For gift-funded research, the ARL is a reactive advisor that can offer a light-touch for non-confidential questions from the project team. The ARL will seek to establish regular touch points with you to stay informed about your research and progress on the project, serving as a link to Amazon’s scientific community. In some cases, e.g., interest in your project from multiple Amazon science teams, additional adjunct ARLs may be assigned. Amazon encourages ARLs to maintain the relationship with faculty even after the funding cycle is complete.

    Research Project Funding

    November 19, 2021 is the DEADLINE to submit proposals for sponsored research projects or gift-funded projects, which may involve direct collaboration with Amazon researchers.

    Doctoral Student Fellowships

    November 19, 2021 is also the DEADLINE to submit nominations for doctoral student fellows. The students awarded the fellowships will be known as Amazon Fellows.