Call for Proposals: Mitigation of COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

COVID-19 Call for Proposals

In the context of the Worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic, the DTI is soliciting Research Award proposals that catalyze cooperative research activities and advances in machine learning and other AI subdisciplines, analytics, statistical analysis, and advanced computing research aimed at (1) the current acute challenges with COVID-19 and (2) the methods for containing and addressing pandemics more generally for longer-term preparedness, including for future pathogens and SARS-like viruses.  In response to the acute challenges the world is facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we call for proposals on understanding and mitigating the spread of COVID-19, improving the ability of the public health and medical establishment to respond, and minimizing the impact of this disease on society.  These projects could be stand-alone or could leverage existing funded efforts that are already addressing COVID-19 and other pandemics. However, the interests of DTI are in the use of AI/ML, data analytics, cloud computing, and change management to mitigate the course and impact of the disease. The DTI also has an interest at the intersection of technology and policy, related to digital transformation.

Topics for Research Awards may include but are not limited to the following topics:

  1. Applying machine learning/AI methods to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. Genome-specific COVID-19 medical protocols, including precision medicine of host responses
  3. Biomedical informatics methods for drug design and repurposing
  4. Design and sharing of clinical trials for collecting and analyzing data on medications, therapies, and interventions
  5. Modeling, simulation, prediction of COVID-19 propagation and efficacy of interventions
  6. Logistics and optimization analysis for design of public health strategies and interventions
  7. Rigorous approaches to designing sampling and testing strategies
  8. Data analytics for COVID-19 research harnessing private and sensitive data, including the role of edge computing/IoT for gathering data
  9. Improving societal resilience in response to the spread of COVID-19 Pandemic
  10. Broader efforts in biomedicine, infectious disease modeling, response logistics and optimization, public health efforts, tools, and methodologies around the containment of rising infectious diseases, and response to pandemics so as to be better prepared for future infectious diseases.


Principal Investigators for these research award proposals must be researchers from the DTI consortium member institutions, but Co-Investigators can be from other institutions.  Preference will, however, be given to projects where the majority of the expenditures occur in the consortium partner universities. DTI strongly encourages interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research projects across these institutions as well as leading research institutions around the world.


Proposals can request research awards of $100,000, $250,000 or $500,000 for a period of one (1) year. Awards will also include unlimited free access to the C3 AI Suite hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud including between 225,000 and 1.15 million CPU/GPU hours of compute capacity depending upon grant requirements. It is anticipated that up to $5.8 million in cash grants will be awarded from the First Call for Proposals. The total amount of funding for the first call, including the cash awards and the in-kind computing support, will be approximately $73 million.  There is a potential for an extension of the award beyond the initial period of performance if needed with reasonable justification and approval. Collaborative research with multiple DTI partner institutions is not required, but award proposals that include such collaboration are encouraged. A simple budget is required as per the template attached.  Please note that the DTI requests that no indirect cost or institutional overhead be charged to the Research Award.

Review Criteria

Projects will be peer-reviewed on the basis of their scientific merit, prior accomplishments by the PI and Co-PIs,  the use of AI, machine learning, data analytics, and cloud computing in the research project, and suitability for testing the methods at scale. Projects addressing epidemiology should demonstrate prior research experience and publications in COVID-19 or in closely related epidemiological research.  The use of the C3 AI Suite is encouraged for all funded projects, but prior experience with C3 AI Suite is not required. Winners will be provided detailed training support on the use of the C3 AI Suite.

Instructions for Proposals

Proposals should be submitted via EasyChair:

Proposals must be submitted before May 1, 2020, and awards will be announced by early June.  However, proposals submitted by April 15th will be reviewed for early potential award notification. Proposals should not exceed six (6) pages (not counting the cover page, budget, budget justification, list of personnel and institutions, bio-sketches, or bibliography). The text should have 11 point font and 1” margins. If you need additional information or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact the faculty leadership of DTI.

Submissions must include the following information:

Project Title
Project Abstract/Overview. The goals, objectives, approach, and desired outcomes of the project.
Research Project Components – Please ensure that your proposal addresses each of these items.

  1. Research impact and impact on societal global health
  2. Project methodology
  3. Expected research accomplishments
  4. Criteria for success
  5. Novelty of your approach and why it is likely to be successful
  6. The research team’s prior research accomplishments in this area.

For more information, visit