My unfunded HHMI teaching professors proposal


A little over a year ago I saw a request from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for proposals focused on undergraduate teaching. I decided to apply for this grant since it combines all of the things I’m interested in: teaching, education research, biology, and data science. So I put together a proposal, got a couple of colleagues to write me letters of support, and sent it off.

I was optimistic about the proposal since we have a cool opportunity through our work in scalable education to hit a large student population and we have been spending a lot of time thinking about using this platform to create a “science of data science” platform (more about that soon!).

In my proposal I said that I wanted to do four things:

  1. Perform research into the concepts and behaviors that lead to better data analysis.
  2. Use data science as a science research to improve our data science MOOCs
  3. Create a sequence of MOOCs in artificial intelligence and deep learning targeted at the advanced undergraduate level
  4. Host a yearly undergraduate biological data science app hackathon

Unfortunately I just heard that my proposal wasn’t selected as a finalist :(. As is the usual case with these things I got a form letter so not too much feedback on what were the good/bad parts of the proposal or why it didn’t fit in.

Usually I’d re-organize the grant and re-submit it somewhere, but this was for a very specific request and the format/content doesn’t really fit at other granting organizations (that I know of,but if you do, please let me know!). So instead I thought I’d post it so at least the work I put in doesn’t just disappear entirely. I’ve made it possible for people to leave comments so if you have any please feel free to leave them in the document and maybe something good will come from the experience!