Call for Data Science Fellows

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BIDS Data Science Fellows Program — 2020 Call for Applications

The Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) invites applications for our Data Science Fellows Program.


Successful applicants will be offered two-year appointments at BIDS beginning in the 2020 Fall Semester. Fellows will join a community of scholars and researchers with excellent credentials in their respective fields and significant successes in advancing data science and data-intensive research across the UC Berkeley campus and beyond. BIDS is offering four fellowships for this call.

BIDS takes a broad view of data science. We welcome applicants with varied research interests — including researchers in the humanities and the social sciences , the life and physical sciences, and statistics and computer science — who are interested in expanding the frontiers of discovery through robust cross-disciplinary collaborations. We especially welcome applicants who share the enduring commitment at BIDS to (1) developing and sustaining research software for data science and producing research results that are accurate, reliable, and reproducible and (2) understanding the ethical, legal and societal issues in scope of data science.

Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS)

BIDS is UC Berkeley’s central hub of data-intensive research, open source software, and data science training programs. It is a core unit of the newly-formed Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society. BIDS is located in the main University Library, where Fellows are provided with dedicated workspace and shared meeting space that will bring them into contact with the larger interdisciplinary data science community. In this dynamic environment, Fellows work alongside the research staff at BIDS and fellows from other data science programs, including those from the biological, computational, physical, and social sciences and the humanities.

BIDS provides Fellows with many opportunities to engage with one another and with our community, including seminar series, luncheons and networking events. BIDS also regularly hosts discussion forums for intellectual exchange, including workshops, lectures, and seminars. Fellows also benefit from the community’s commitment to best practices in data science, including development and implementation of algorithms in nimble open-source software libraries and development of reusable research workflows, which provide tools for making published data science research reproducible.

More information about BIDS is available on the BIDS website.   

Application and Award Timeline

  • APPLICATION DEADLINE:  April 1, 2020  
  • APPLICATION REVIEW:  Early April 2020  
  • INTERVIEWS:  Late April 2020 
  • AWARDS ANNOUNCED:  First week of May
  • AWARD DATE:  Beginning August 19, 2020 (2020 Fall Semester)

Eligibility and Funding

To be eligible to apply, you must have a doctoral or postdoctoral appointment in an academic department at UC Berkeley, LBNL or UCSF. Postdoctoral applications are welcome from all fields, while predoctoral (at least 1 year post-qualifying exams) applications are only welcome from the fields that have few or no postdoctoral fellowships, specifically, the humanities and social sciences. Your department appointment must be retained throughout the Program. In addition, you must be able to commit about half of your time on collaborative projects, activities, and events at BIDS that help build our cross-disciplinary community (see expectations section below). BIDS funds 50% of salary and benefits, as set by home departments, for those accepting offers to become Fellows.

Applicants from all departments engaged in data-intensive research who meet the basic requirements will be considered.  Data-intensive research spans data generation and capture; data management; data selection and querying; data cleaning and parsing; exploratory data analysis (EDA); data analysis and modeling; data visualization and storytelling; data publishing; and data archiving.  Applicants with or seeking more experience with developing and sustaining research software for data science and producing research results that are accurate, reliable, and reproducible should find the Program compelling.
One of the fellowships is sponsored by the UCSF Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute (BCHSI), which is specifically interested in applicants who will be able to facilitate   collaborations in data and computational health sciences between UC Berkeley and UCSF.  This BIDS-BCHSI Date Science Fellow will be selected a) to pursue a specific project or topic that leverages the two campuses’ expertise; b) to serve as an ambassador helping to forge connections between faculty, students, and research labs; c) to identify and/or contribute to new programs, tools, or resources to foster greater collaboration between the two campuses. 

Expectations of our Data Science Fellows

Fellows are expected to be self-motivated, contributing, and visible members of the BIDS community.  For the mutual benefit of Fellows and the community, they are expected to:

  1. Set and meet at least two specific goals annually to contribute to the BIDS community.  Goals will be based on agreements reached with advisors and the Executive Director of BIDS, with concurrence of the BIDS Faculty Council.  
  2. Devote approximately 20 hours per week to working toward the goals, primarily at the main location for BIDS in 190 Doe Library, when possible and productive.  (Note: Many Fellows report that serendipitous interactions with faculty, other Fellows, and staff in the BIDS space have been one of the most valuable parts of the Program.)
  3. Regularly attend and contribute at BIDS events and forums for intellectual exchange, including workshops, working groups, and seminars.
  4. Arrange and lead a conversation/ presentation about their work to present to the community.
  5. Contribute content, working with the BIDs communications staff, to BIDS digital media and print publications.

All of these expectations are designed to ensure a mutually beneficial experience for Fellows and the Institute, in addition to enriching the cross-disciplinary exchanges.  Funding for the entire two-year appointment is contingent on Fellows fulfillment of these expectations.

Here are some examples of how BIDS Data Science Fellows have engaged over the past six years:

  1. Organized BIDS research and training activities (e.g., ImageXD, TextXD, open source software and tools boot camps and sprints, and other training opportunities).
  2. Developed grant proposals - NSF, NIH, foundations, and industry - with BIDS affiliated faculty and research staff, including developing proposal content and providing project management support  
  3. Published books and papers in collaboration with other Fellows, BIDS research staff, and BIDS affiliated faculty (A group of our first cohort of Fellows edited a book of case studies on The Practice of Reproducible Research from across scientific domains ( [])
  4. Organized community outreach (e.g., California Water Challenge Hackathon, three-day event focused on involving underrepresented undergraduates in data science)
  5. Took a leadership role in helping run one of our Working Groups, forums, or discussion series. 
  6. Mentored and led undergraduate teams on semester-long research projects.

You could also design and lead a new initiative that we haven’t yet thought about!

Application Process

Those interested in applying should submit the following information through the BIDS fellowship application website by April 1, 2020.  Applicants for the UCSF-sponsored fellowship must indicate that specific interest in their application materials. Once submitted, your application will be handled as indicated in the timeline shown above. 

Questions may be addressed to with the subject line “BIDS Data Science Fellowship -2020 Call for Applications.”

Sections noted with an asterisk (*) are required.