MICDE Catalyst Grants

The Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery & Engineering (MICDE) seeks proposals for innovative research projects in computational science that combine elements of mathematics, computer science, and cyberinfrastructure. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Computational science approaches, algorithms, frameworks, etc.
  • Emerging paradigms in computing (exascale computing, quantum computing, FPGA computing, etc.)
  • Applications in emerging areas (neuroscience, ecology, evolutionary biology, human-made complex systems, mobility etc.)
  • Extensions of traditional computational sciences to complex decision making (reinforcement learning, transfer learning, neuromorphic computing, etc.)
  • Artificial Intelligence informing and informed by science

Generic big data problems that do not fundamentally advance computational science algorithms are not suitable for MICDE Catalyst Grants. Priority will be given to high-impact projects with potential to eventually attract external funding. MICDE expects to fund 3-4 one-year projects at up to $100,000 each.

Click here to read about the proposals that were funded during the first two rounds of awards.

Review Criteria

  1. Is the proposed work sufficiently novel, relative to the field, rather than an incremental extension of existing work?
  2. Have the ideas being proposed demonstrated a likelihood of success?
  3. Is there a plan for specific external funding agencies to be approached as an outcome of the proposed project, and a justification for why those agencies may find the work compelling?
  4. For full proposals: has a plan been formulated for how the infrastructure of Advanced Research Computing (ARC) at U-M will be leveraged in a proposal to external funding agencies?

Budget and Justification

A maximum of $100,000 may be requested. Graduate student/post-doc salaries, PI/Co-PI summer salaries, travel, and cost for accessing ARC computing resources are allowable expenses. At least 80% of the funds should support post-doctoral fellows and/or graduate students. Projects must include a detailed work plan for all involved personnel, including PIs/co-PIs. Indirect costs will not be levied on the funds and no cost sharing is required.

Who may apply

PIs/co-PIs should be tenure track or research track faculty at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Campus. Collaborative projects, especially those that show potential to seed center-level external proposals, are encouraged.

How to apply


To submit a proposal, please complete this google form. You must be logged in into your umich google account to open the form. Note that you cannot save the form without submitting it, so check that you have all the documents and information ready. These include:

  • Title and all investigators’ names and emails. You may include postdocs, and non U-M collaborators, but not graduate students.
  • Two pages including project description, plans for follow-up funding, personnel, and budget outline, in a pdf file. Please include the corresponding author’s last name in the file name.
  • References (no page limit). Please include the corresponding author’s last name in the file name.
  • 2-3 suggested expert reviewers from U-M (full name and umich email address).

Deadline to submit was Monday, March 18, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.

Full proposals:

  • By invitation only
  • Proposal content:
    • 6 pages, including project description, plans for follow up funding and personnel.
    • References (no page limit).
    • 2-page NSF or NIH-style CV for PI and co-PIs.
    • A detailed budget and budget justification.
  • Full proposals were due at the end of April.

Q1: Should the proposal include mathematics, computer science, and/or cyberinfrastructure collaborators?

A1: Such collaborations are by no means required, but encouraged. Cyberinfrastructure collaborations could come by engaging closely with ARC-TS or CSCAR.

Q2: Must projects have new developments in computational methods, or are innovative applications of existing computational methods also acceptable?

A2: Innovative applications of existing computational methods are also sought.

Q3: Can a proposal have a single PI?

A3: Yes.

Q4: Should PIs/co-PIs be MICDE affiliated faculty?

A4: No, affiliation to MICDE is not required.

Q5: Will other research areas not listed be considered?

A5: Yes! Every research project with a relevant computational component will be considered.

Q6: If my project is chosen, is there a deadline for the start of the project?

A6: All projects should start by September 1, 2019 to give PIs a chance to recruit students/post-docs.

Q7: Does the $100,000 have to be used up in 1 year, or could it be extended?

A7: Extensions will be considered but PIs are strongly encouraged to have a plan to use all the money in 1 year.

Q8: Can any funds be used for lab analyses or equipment?

A8: Data-analyses are ok, but at this time in-house experiments or experimental equipment cannot be funded through this grant.

Q9: Does MICDE want software to be an output of the project?

A9: No, software is not expected as an output of the project, but it could be a component of the project.

Q10: What are the deliverables?

A10: We will require teams to meet at the end of the project to share results, and discuss what worked/didn’t work in the process.

Q11: How many pre-proposals will be invited to submit a full proposal?

A11: We expect 8-10 proposals.

Q12: Can there be external collaborators?

A12: Yes, but all the money should be spent at U-M.

Q13:  Should the project aim for one specific call for an external agency or foundation, or can it target several funding opportunities?

A13: It doesn’t have to aim for a specific call, the project can target more than one.

Q14: Can funding include PI salary (as required by, e.g., the Medical School)?

A14: PI salary can be included, but it should be accompanied by a justification of the precise role of the PI in carrying out the research, not only managing it.

Q15: Which tuition rate will be charged for students?

A15: Only candidates’ rate will be allowed.

Q16: What Flux rate will be charged for these projects?

A16: The negotiated rate for the PI/co-PI School or College.

Q17: Can a PI/co-PI participate in two pre-proposals?

A17: A researcher may be the Principal Investigator in only one proposal. There is no restriction for the number of proposals a researcher may participate as a co-PI.

 Informational Session

An informational session took place on February 7, 2019. The slides may be accessed here. Applicants are encouraged to contact the following MICDE officials with questions:
Director – Krishna Garikipati (krishna@umich.edu)
Associate Directors – Annette Ostling (aostling@umich.edu), Siqian Shen (siqian@umich.edu), Karthik Duraisamy (kdur@umich.edu)
Assistant Director – Mariana Carrasco-Teja (mcteja@umich.edu)

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions section at the top-right of this site.