2021 DPI Research and Development Science Team Seed Grants

The Discovery Partners Institute’s ambition is to propel Chicago and Illinois into a pre-eminent and inclusive tech economy over the next decade. Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, it does three things: tech talent development, Research & Development, and business building. DPI prepares diverse students and workers to step into high-demand tech jobs. It also builds research teams and matches them with new funding. With state investment and a new innovation district in development, DPI has the resources to attract, develop and leverage the most ambitious people and companies into its ecosystem.

DPI invites you to join your colleagues in helping to build DPI’s research and development portfolio by applying for a DPI R&D Science Team Seed Grant. Science teams should be interdisciplinary and inter-institutional with the goals of creating new economic value, answering significant research questions, and addressing societal challenges. Applicants should address these goals by establishing innovative research teams or new businesses. The 2021 cohort will add to our list of successful and dynamic teams created in 2020.

For this funding opportunity DPI is seeking proposals in the following sectors:

  • Digital Government
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Health and Wellness
  • Information Technology
  • Infrastructure
  • Transportation
  • Water and Climate

Proposals should focus on the applications of computing technologies (e.g., AI/ML, Big data, security/privacy) to problems facing these sectors in order to address important societal challenges.

For questions please contact Michael Fitzsimons at fitzm@uillinois.edu.


  • Proposals are expected to reflect substantive involvement of multiple investigators from different disciplines, departments and/or campuses.
  • Proposed science teams are strongly encouraged to include members from multiple partner universities.
  • A minimum of two researchers with at least one member from the University of Illinois System. We expect no more than four co-PIs. You are not limited in the number of senior personnel. The team (PI or one of the Co-Pis) must have at least one member with a 0.5 FTE appointment on a University of Illinois campus.

PI Requirements

  • The PI and his/her unit are fully responsible for any overages if the funding request is calculated incorrectly
  • The PI is responsible for consulting with the relevant offices and meeting all requirements
  • To the best of the PI's knowledge, all the information provided in the application is correct.