How to apply

NCSA Fellowship proposals should be submitted via EasyChair. Proposals can be submitted by individuals or collaborative teams beginning February 1, 2016. Proposals for 2016-2017 are due Feb. 21, 2016. Decisions on funding are anticipated in April 2016.

Important Dates

  • Jan. 28, 2016: NCSA Fellowships Ideas Accelerator, 10 am-noon, NCSA Lobby. This speed match-making event will help potential fellowship applicants find NCSA staff and other researchers with whom to collaborate and build successful proposals. Potential applicants are invited to submit a single slide to Amanda Lombardo. These slides will be used at the event, made available on the NCSA Fellows wiki, and distributed to NCSA staff until the submission deadline. Slides should contain the appropriate contact details (e.g. email address), ideally a photo, and depending on how much information you are comfortable sharing, your project idea, and/or what skills/interests/resources you are interested in finding from NCSA.
  • Feb. 21, 2016: Deadline to submit to the NCSA Fellowships Program
  • April 1, 2016: Target date for decisions


Competitive proposals will involve individual or multiple Illinois faculty in a well-defined activity that requires close collaboration with NCSA application and technical staff and/or use of NCSA computational resources or facilities. Funding will be targeted at new collaborations with clear outcomes that contribute to the NCSA strategic plan to drive innovation around Big Data, Big Computing and Big Research and lead to new funding opportunities. There is particular interest in projects that can lead to stimulating demonstrations of extreme-scale cyberinfrastructure.

Successful proposals will:

  • Advance the development of existing or new thematic areas at NCSA
  • Leverage and build on major NCSA projects and investments
  • Demonstrate a compelling need for NCSA funding and involvement
  • Outline a clear plan for activities to contribute to the NCSA environment (e.g. students working at NCSA)
  • Include NCSA staff as integral contributors to the project (strongly encouraged)

Fellows are strongly encouraged to have an active, close collaboration with NCSA staff for the duration of the fellowship, and applicants should discuss these collaborations in detail with the NCSA staff involved before submitting proposals. Proposals should describe the nature of the collaboration, the anticipated time commitment of the staff, and the source of support for staff involvement. Support for NCSA staff to take part in fellowship projects can come from existing project or grant funds or can be requested as part of the proposal from the NCSA Director's Office. In this latter case, the staff member should include this request as part of his/her letter of commitment, should keep in mind that requests of one month effort or less are the most likely to be supported, and should discuss their plans with their supervisor. NCSA staff are encouraged to talk with Amanda Lombardo for more information, or to discuss their potential involvement in fellowship projects.

Proposals should be no more than six pages, consisting of:

  • Project summary (suggested length: 1/2 page)
  • Problem statement and potential impact (suggested length: 1 page)
  • Approach (suggested length: 1 page)
  • Need for collaboration and advanced cyberinfrastructure (suggested length: 1 page)
  • Plans for continuation of activity (e.g., submit proposals, other funding) (suggested length: 1/2 page)
  • Description of project team, location of activities, mechanisms of collaboration, and required compute/data (or other) infrastructure (suggested length: 1 page)
  • Milestones and/or assessment (suggested length: 1/2 page)

Proposals should also include a budget and budget justification and may include references, short (2- or 3-page NSF/DOE or NIH style) resumes for all project participants, and may include references; these materials are not included in the six-page limit.

Letter of Commitment

Short letters of commitment should be included for all co-PIs and NCSA staff collaborating in fellowship proposals (see Letter of Commitment template [Word]). These letters should confirm each individual's anticipated involvement in the project. For NCSA staff the letters should include confirmation that their plans have been discussed with their supervisor and should specify the source of funding for their involvement, including, where appropriate, a request for support from the NCSA Director's Office.

Budgetary Guidance

Fellowships can include up to $25,000 in support over 12 months (starting July 1, 2016). Follow-on funding for previously funded fellowships will be considered only in cases where additional funding is required to complete or develop a proposal for an active or imminent RFP.

Fellowship funds can be used for the following purposes:

  • Adjustment of teaching responsibilities, to be negotiated with department heads or chairs
  • Research assistant support (GRA, postdoc, etc.)
  • Travel support—maximum of $1,500 for conference travel or travel to other sites
  • Faculty summer salary

Project activities are strongly encouraged to take place in the NCSA Building where they will contribute to a collaborative, interdisciplinary research environment. Project budgets do not need to include benefits, tuition remission, or overheads.

EasyChair Submission Instructions

If you do not have an EasyChair account, see the instructions for creating an account.

The site is now accepting proposals until February 21, 2016.

Read the "Overview" information, and then click on "New Submission."

  • Fill in all the required information indicated by (*)
  • Fill in the information on the author(s)
  • Fill in the title in plain text
  • Fill in the abstract in plain text
  • Fill in at least three keywords for searching, if desired

Upload a PDF of your proposal or click the "Abstract Only" box under "Upload Paper." When you have completed the form, press "Submit" only ONCE. It will take time to upload the submission.

Questions or more information can be directed to Amanda Lombardo (