At the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and neuroscience is a mutually beneficial relationship with potential to transform brain health, counter disease, and develop AI technologies inspired by the versatility and depth of human intelligence. To leverage this potential, the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute (Wu Tsai Neuro) and the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) jointly seek proposals for up to $125K that support ambitious ideas and reimagine the ways in which neuroscience and AI work together to transform our understanding of the human brain and advance artificially intelligent systems. We especially aim to fund proposals that can make a persuasive case that initial results will catalyze further support from internal and external stakeholders. We expect to award four to six one-year grants.
In keeping with the multidisciplinary missions of Wu Tsai Neuro and HAI, we encourage proposals from across the university that involve new collaborations between at least two independent co-Principal Investigators (PI) who use different methodologies and/or work in different disciplines. The collaboration should bridge the fields of AI and neuroscience and yield stronger results than the disciplines’ independent capabilities. To facilitate these partnerships, faculty who are looking for new collaborators have the option to submit a short summary (“pitch”) calling for the type of researcher or area of expertise they seek to strengthen their proposal. Pitches will be shared confidentially amongst the pool of applicants, enabling applicants to easily find and contact each other. Participation in the pitch/matchmaking process is voluntary, and has no bearing on the review or selection of awarded proposals.
HAI is simultaneously offering a separate funding opportunity, a general call for proposals for up to $75K for one year. PIs may not submit the same research project for both opportunities; PIs should review both calls to determine which opportunity is most appropriate for their project.
In addition to the above criteria, preference will be given to projects that relate both to the mission of Wu Tsai Neuro and the three broad HAI research areas:
Wu Tsai Neuro Mission:
The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is dedicated to understanding how the brain gives rise to mental life and behavior, both in health and in disease. Our research community draws from and informs multiple disciplines, including neuroscience, medicine, engineering, psychology, education and law. The discoveries that arise from these collaborations will transform our understanding of the human brain, provide novel treatments for brain disorders, and promote brain health throughout the lifespan.
HAI Focus Areas:
- Intelligence — research that aims to develop novel technologies inspired by the depth and versatility of human intelligence. Potential topics may include AI inspired by neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology; novel unsupervised, semi-supervised, self-supervised, and supervised methods for diverse data types; knowledge and semantics.
- Augment Human Capabilities — research that aims to design and create AI technologies that augment humans rather than replace them. Potential topics may include AI and human-computer interaction; health, medicine, and wellness; robotics and automation; sustainability and climate change; education, law.
- Human Impact — research that aims to understand and guide the global societal impact of AI technologies for the greater good. Potential topics may include the impact of AI on economics, society, government, ethics, philosophy, policy, and other related areas of the social sciences and humanities. This may include race, ethnicity, and gender studies; interpretable, trustworthy, and fair AI; the intellectual and conceptual foundations of AI, its history, and its cultural impact. We especially encourage research projects directly related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Pitch submission (optional)
Pitches are due July 6, 2022 at 11:59pm PST. By submitting a pitch, faculty gain access to this community of researchers seeking new collaborations. This phase should be solely viewed as an opportunity and all participating parties are not required to move forward with a joint proposal.
Proposals are due on August 15, 2022 at 11:59pm PST. Proposals will go through a review committee and ethics review process. Award recipients will be notified by early November. Please submit using the Apply button on this webpage.
The proposal (no longer than four pages, excluding references, PDF, single-spaced, 11 point, 1 inch margins) should include the following components:
First two pages:
- Background and problem statement
- Core research idea
- How your research idea innovates over existing methods/applications or brings together diverse disciplines
- Detailed technical (or general) problem solving approach
- Team involved (faculty, postdocs, staff, and/or students as appropriate) and description on whether this is a new collaboration and/or how the collaboration yields stronger results than each team members’ independent capabilities
- Requested funding and associated sketch budget (e.g., “25% RA 2qtrs: $18K; fieldwork travel $3K, equipment: $4K”, 8% infrastructure charge)
- A short (1 paragraph) description of how your team will contribute to diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity and justice at Stanford. Additional guidance and tips for a successful statement can be found here.
Ethics and Society Review (ESR) statement: (one page PDF, single-spaced, 11 point, 1 inch margins). The ESR panel may ask for more detail in response. Read more details about the ESR statement and process.
- Detail the ethical challenges and possible negative societal impacts of the proposed research. What are the possible long-term consequences of this research?
- Articulate general principles that you will use to eliminate or mitigate these issues. Then, translate those principles into the specific design decisions you are making in your proposed research.
Fifth page +
- References (no max or min limits, at the end of the PDF file)
Wu Tsai Neuro and HAI will review proposals based on:
- Likelihood to make a positive impact on our planet, our nations, our communities, our families and/or our lives
- Novelty or innovation in the application, development or study of AI
- Whether the proposed team has the proper credentials to complete the project
- Involving multiple disciplines
- Scientific merit of the proposal, with quality, innovation and creativity balanced with the projects likelihood of success
- Alignment with the Priority Areas listed above
- The potential impact of your goals for increasing diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity and justice at Stanford
- Recommendations from the ethics and society review
We welcome proposals that come from students, staff, and Stanford faculty. Each proposal must have a Stanford faculty or researcher who qualifies as a Principal Investigator (PI) according to Stanford University Policy (those with tenure line (UTL), medical center line (MCL), or research faculty appointment (NTLR)).
PIs may not be involved in more than one proposal submission.
Awardees must be willing to attend and present the results of their work at future Wu Tsai Neuro and HAI events or seminars as well as volunteer to review for future Wu Tsai Neuro and HAI grant programs.
Timely and substantive reporting of the value derived from these grants is important to Wu Tsai Neuro and HAI’s ability to continue and expand our grant programs. One year after receipt of funds, recipients must provide a final report of research results, fund usage, and a list of publications, articles, or conference talks emerging from the research.
Proposals may request up to $125,000 for 12 months. Award amounts will be based on an analysis of a budget request. No indirect costs will be charged but an 8% infrastructure charge will be imposed.
Funds may be used for salary and tuition support of faculty, graduate students, and other research staff, operating supplies, minor equipment items, prototyping expenses, imaging time, and travel directly associated with the research activity. Funds will not support general staff or administrative support.
General questions? E-mail us at email@example.com.
Questions about the ethics and society review statement? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org