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Hoffman-Yee Research Grants

2024 Call for Proposals

The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI) is seeking to fund interdisciplinary Stanford project teams in support of the HAI research focus areas:

  • Intelligence — research that aims to develop novel technologies inspired by the depth and versatility of human intelligence.
  • Augment Human Capabilities — research that aims to design and create AI technologies that augment humans rather than replace them.
  • Human Impact — research that aims to understand and guide the global societal impact of AI technologies for the greater good.

Proposals should address significant scientific, technical, or societal challenges requiring an interdisciplinary team to make significant progress. We are looking for bold approaches with the potential to achieve lasting solutions that positively impact the way AI is applied, developed, or studied. HAI hopes to foster a culture of AI research in which technological advancements are inextricably linked to research about their potential societal impacts.

Each of the winning teams will receive up to $500,000 in year one with the opportunity to receive up to $2,000,000 more over the following two years. Teams will compete for year two and three funding through a presentation at a public symposium, private interview, and progress report. A subset of the teams will be selected for subsequent funding.

We expect to award six to eight grants.

Submission Guidelines

Letters of Intent (LOI) are due January 29, 2024 at 11:59pm PT. Please submit using the application form. LOI will be used by the review committee to select teams to submit full proposals (due April 1, 2024). Award recipients will be notified in June 2024.

LOIs and full proposals must be self-contained with no links to additional information and must observe the maximum length limits listed below.

LOI Outline and Format

Provide a non-technical summary of the proposed project (2 pages maximum including all information, 12 pt. font, at least ½” margins). In essence, explain what you want to do, why it is important, and who is on your team to make it happen. Please cover the following:

  • Problem statement and approach:
    • What is the problem, and what are your approaches to and objectives in solving it?
    • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
    • What is new in your approach, and why do you think it will be successful?
    • What parts of the HAI research focus areas (outlined above) does your project cover?
    • HAI is working to develop a framework on how to conduct human-centered AI research. One way we think about it is here. In what ways, if any, does your research approach relate to this framework?
  • Impact:
    • Who cares? If you succeed, what difference will it make?
    • What are the risks and payoffs?
  • Team, budget, timeline:
    • Who is on your team and how does their expertise help?
    • Approximately how much will it cost? (a detailed budget is not required)
    • High level timeline and 3-5 planned project milestones

Full Proposal Outline and Format (for teams selected in the first round)

12 pt. font, at least ½” margins

  1. Abstract (maximum of 500 words) Provide a non-technical summary of the proposed project. The summary should address the same questions as above from the LOI.
  2. Research Project Proposal (maximum of 5 pages including figures not including references) Describe the project in sufficient technical detail that it can be assessed by domain experts. Provide background and motivation, research objectives and methods, potential impact, and pathway to implementation of the solution.
  3. Collaboration Plan (maximum of 1 page) Given the different vocabulary/objectives/timeframe of different disciplines, describe the processes that will be implemented to facilitate sustained, meaningful collaboration among your team. This section must show how the resulting collaboration leads to results that are much greater than the sum of the individual contributions, and the essential contributions that each PI brings. We are looking for programs where the collaboration leads to new ideas and new learnings and not just a pipeline of research results.
  4. Participant List (length only limited by the number of participants) Provide a list of the project team members including:
  • Name
  • Email
  • Affiliation (e.g., department name if inside Stanford, organization name if outside Stanford)
  • Project Role (e.g., Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, senior team member, postdoctoral scholar, graduate student, etc.)
  • Notes:
    • Suggested minimum number of total PIs/Co-PIs per project proposal is 4 and the suggested maximum number of total PIs/Co-PIs is 6.
    • Projects are expected to be genuinely interdisciplinary and that this will be demonstrated by the participation of at least PIs from at least three different departments or schools.
    • Other participating faculty and non-academic team members should be listed as “senior team member”. PI/Co-PIs should only be people who plan to be deeply involved in the project.
    • Unassigned project team members can be identified by a generic title and number (e.g., Graduate Student 1, Graduate Student 2, etc.).​

5. 3-Year Budget Justification (maximum of 1 page) Describe how the 3-year project funds will enable the success of the project team. The project budget may not exceed $500,000 for year one and $1M for each of year two and three. This is not a detailed, line-item budget; finalists will be asked to submit a detailed budget at a later date. Review an example here.

6. Ethics and Society Review (ESR) statement (minimum of 1 page, maximum of 2.5 pages, the ESR panel may ask for more detail in response) Detail the ethical and societal risks of the proposed research, the principles that researchers in your field should follow in mitigating these risks, and how, specifically, you plan to use those principles to mitigate the risks in your research design. The ESR is focused on ethics and societal harms, in contrast to the IRB's focus on harms to research participants. Read here for examples of common risks, principles, and mitigations in HAI ESR statements.

Email a single PDF with your full proposal to


  • Principal Investigators (PIs/Co-PIs) must be Stanford faculty members and be eligible per Stanford policy.
  • A faculty member can be associated with (e.g., PI, co-PI, or senior personnel), no more than two proposals, but each faculty member may serve as the PI for only one proposal.

Selection Criteria

To be considered, proposals must satisfy the project proposal guidelines. Both Letters of Intent (LOI) and full proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Likelihood of the project initiating and sustaining meaningful interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and beyond. Projects are encouraged to span at least two of the three HAI focus areas.
  2. Boldness, ingenuity, and potential for the transformative impact of the proposed research, especially in comparison to research typically supported by existing funding mechanisms.
  3. Project’s capability to educate, train, and prepare the next generation of leaders to take on the AI challenges of the future.

Review Process

Proposals will be evaluated in multiple rounds of review according to the Selection Criteria stated above. The Hoffman-Yee Proposal Review Committee comprises individuals from different disciplines across the University. Reviewers will keep proposals and the information that they contain strictly confidential. Full proposals will go through a scientific review and an ethics review.

Post-Award Requirements

Six months after receipt of funds, each winning team will be expected to present their work at an HAI Directors meeting. Additionally, at the end of year one, winning teams will be expected to present at a public symposium and meet with a selection committee for a private interview. Based on the symposium presentation and private interview, a subset of the teams will be selected for subsequent funding for the next two years.

Winning teams must agree to the terms for inventions, patents, and licensing set forth in the Stanford University Research Policy Handbook and be willing to participate in HAI activities including, but not limited to, research seminars, periodic workshops, and the review of proposals for future grant programs. Funded projects are expected to list financial support from Stanford HAI Hoffman-Yee Grants in all publications resulting from this funding.


For any questions related to your project proposal, please contact us at