Apply for NMDSI mini-grants by April 7

The Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI) is offering up to seven $50,000 mini-grants (maximum award of $50,000 per project) to Marquette University faculty. Projects will start July 1, with funds available on that date.  Projects must be completed within 18 months of the start date (by Dec. 31, 2024). 

The NMDSI will consider funding ongoing research and will assess incremental outcomes due to the mini-grant on the same basis as new projects. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 7. 

The NMDSI is a collaboration among Marquette, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Northwestern Mutual with the goals of furthering research, corporate and community applications, and talent development in data science. 

The NMDSI will score proposals based on the following seven criteria (weighting noted): 

  • Applies machine learning, artificial intelligence and/or other data analysis techniques to extract insight from identified structured and/or unstructured data (20%) 
  • Provides opportunities for Marquette student participation and for student acquisition of new data science skills (20%) 
  • Demonstrates potential for significant impact on Milwaukee-area and/or regional communities (20%) 
  • Research team is multidisciplinary across the Marquette campus (10%) 
  • Research team is collaborative among Marquette and UWM faculty and/or Northwestern Mutual data science team (10%) 
  • Demonstrates ability to complete meaningful work in the 18-month timeframe (10%) 
  • Research is sustainable (identifiable funding source after Dec. 31, 2024) (10%) 

Proposals should be no longer than eight pages and saved as a PDF with a filename that includes the first name, last name and department name of the primary contact person. Please email all proposals to Scott Rex, Marquette’s NMDSI co-director.  

Proposals must address the following nine sections (please follow the numbering convention below): 

  1. General information (project title; Marquette principal investigator, department and email; research team including affiliations and roles in the project) 
  2. Project summary (brief project overview) 
  3. Work plan (scope of work; objective(s) and deliverable(s); how project outcomes will be measured; project timeline with milestones) 
  4. If applicable, how does the interdisciplinary nature of the research team (across Marquette departments, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee faculty, Northwestern Mutual data scientists) impact the project’s scope and impact and provide an innovative approach to the project  
  5. Budget (identify specific project elements, breaking down budget requirements for each; complete the “Project Budget Template” table on page 3 and include in your proposal; make your completed budget table inclusive to your submitted proposal, saved as a single PDF, rather than as a separate document) 
  6. Application to data science (intended use of machine learning, artificial intelligence and/or other data analysis techniques, algorithms and tools; source of the project’s structured and/or unstructured data or if data acquisition is part of the project scope) 
  7. Marquette student involvement (number of undergraduate, graduate and/or doctoral students on the project team; roles; breadth and depth of data science skills acquired and/or extended) 
  8. Breadth and depth of project’s impact on Milwaukee-area and/or regional communities 
  9. If applicable, discuss how the research is sustainable beyond Dec. 31, 2024, and identify funding source(s). 


  • Proposals due: 5 p.m. on April 7 
  • As needed, requested follow-ups and clarifications to proposal contact persons: April 21 
  • Requested project follow-up and clarification responses to proposal assessment team: April 28 
  • Awards announced: May 5 
  • Projects begin and funds available: July 1