(CLOSED) data.org Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge

Sponsor Name: 
The Rockefeller Foundation
Description of the Award: 

As part of our commitment to building the field of data science for social impact, data.org has launched a $10 million data.org Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge.

Any strong and growing economy requires an inclusive and resilient approach to growth to ensure that talent, innovation, and our communities can become stronger in times of stress. By tapping into the expertise of a broad pool of thinkers and doers, we aim to catalyze innovative and scalable solutions to help individuals and communities thrive, all the while building resilience to withstand future challenges.

We recognize that the COVID-19 global pandemic is affecting our society in profound ways and will require new and innovative approaches. Beyond the impacts on public health, the COVID-19 crisis is likely to have severe economic repercussions. Supply chains are being disrupted, businesses are suffering losses, workers are facing unemployment, and too many people lack the savings or credit to weather an economic downturn.

We are seeking inclusive growth proposals from and for anywhere in the world. We are particularly interested in the areas listed below – but welcome other proposals for using data science to advance shared prosperity, and help ensure an inclusive recovery.

Focus Areas:

Jobs of Tomorrow - Leave no worker behind
Low wage workers are among the most vulnerable in today’s economy. In times of economic stress, current trends toward automation and job displacement could accelerate. How can we use data science to help workers remain secure in precarious times? Can data insights predict trends in the labor market and connect and prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow?

Access to Capital - Leave no entrepreneur behind
Unleashing the spirit of grassroots entrepreneurs can help communities rebound by creating much-needed jobs and growing local economies. Yet, in times of recession, the flow of credit to micro and small businesses tends to slow down. How can data science enable microentrepreneurs to gain access to capital? How can data science help us identify micro and small businesses with the potential to grow? How can data insights rethink creditworthiness and unlock capital for high potential business owners?

Cities & Towns - Leave no place behind
An economic recession will hit some places harder than others. As public and private sector investments flow into cities and towns to stimulate the economy, how can leaders use data-driven insights to make the right decisions to ensure economic security in underserved communities? How can data and analytics help connect neighborhoods to the resources and networks they need to access opportunity, including quality education, affordable housing and childcare, decent jobs, and transportation? We are seeking applications of data science that can fuel economic growth and empower communities to thrive without further exacerbating inequality.

Award Information

The Challenge will award up to ten winners with data science talent, software, training, and funding from $10K up to $10 million USD in a mix of grant-funding, technical support & consulting, media production, marketing and promotional outreach, and software & infrastructure licenses.

Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jul 17, 2020
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Individuals and organizations are limited to submitting one Entry to the Challenge. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Challenge may consider multiple Entries from large organizations such as universities. Any such Entries must be distinct, without overlap in the scope of the proposals or the project teams. If multiple applicants submit intent the OLS will contact the challenge to confirm eligibility.

Interested applicants should notify the Office of Limited Submissions at the InfoReady link below by uploading the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (filename: [last name]_datachallenge_2020 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Sheet (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Title of this funding opportunity


2. Project Abstract (<300 words)

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
Penn State OVPR NOI Deadline: 
Sunday, June 14, 2020 - 4:00pm
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link: