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Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI Hoffman-Yee Research Grants

2019 Request for Proposals:
Letter of Intent Deadline Nov. 7, 2019

The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI) is seeking to fund interdisciplinary Stanford project teams in support of the HAI research vision: Human Impact, Augmenting Human Capabilities, and Intelligence. Each of the approximately six winning teams in year one will receive up to $500,000 with the opportunity to be one of up to three teams that receive up to $2 million more over the following two years. 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 of achieving lasting, high-impact solutions. HAI hopes to foster a culture of AI research in which technological advancements are inextricably linked to research about their potential societal impacts.

If you are interested in receiving future mailings about HAI grant programs and other opportunities and events, please sign up for our faculty and staff mailing list. Letters of Intent (due November 7, 2019) will be used by the review committee to select teams to submit full proposals (due January 30, 2020). The details of the proposal process are included below.


  • 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.

  • Strongly suggested the minimum number of total PIs/Co-PIs per project proposal is 4 and the maximum number of total PIs/Co-PIs is 6.

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 encouraged to span at least two of the three HAI focus areas: 

    • Human ImpactGuiding, forecasting, and studying the human and societal impact of AI, domestically and globally.

    • Augmenting Human CapabilitiesDesigning and creating AI applications that augment human capabilities.

    • Inspired Intelligence: Developing AI technologies inspired by the versatility and depth of human intelligence.

  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.

Annual Budget and Renewal
A three-year project budget justification is required with all full Proposals (not necessary for LOI). The project budget may not exceed $500,000 for year one and $1M for each of year two and three. Renewal for years two and three will be based on progress made during year one.

Proposal Requirements
The web submission form must be filled out by the Principal Investigator. In addition to the data requested on the web form, a single merged PDF of the proposal including the five sections described below must also be submitted. LOIs and full proposals must observe the maximum length limits listed below. LOIs and full proposals must be self-contained with no links to additional information. LOIs must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 at the Hoffman-Yee grant website.

LOI Outline and Format
Provide a two-page non-technical summary of the proposed project. 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:

  • 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?

  • Who cares? If you succeed, what difference will it make?

  • What are the risks and payoffs?

  • Who is on your team and how does their expertise help?

  • What parts of the HAI research objectives does your approach cover?

  • Approximately how much will it cost? (a detailed budget is not required)

2 pages maximum including all information & 12 pt. font everywhere (at least ½” margins).

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

  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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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:
    • Strongly suggested the minimum number of total PIs/Co-PIs per project proposal is 4 and the 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—list others as senior team members.
    • Unassigned project team members can be identified by a generic title and number (e.g., Graduate Student 1, Graduate Student 2, etc.).
  1. 3-Year Budget Justification (maximum of 1 page)

Describe how the 3-year project funds will enable the success of the project team. This is not a detailed, line-item budget; finalists will be asked to submit a detailed budget at a later date.

12 pt. font everywhere (at least ½” margins).

E-mail a single PDF with your full proposal to Rani Sharma at when complete.

Review Process
Proposals will be evaluated in multiple rounds of review according to the Selection Criteria stated in this Request for Proposals. The Hoffman-Yee Proposal Review Committee comprises individuals from different disciplines across the University and Distinguished Fellows of the Stanford HAI. Reviewers will keep proposals and the information that they contain strictly confidential.

Post-Award Administration
Funding recipients agree to the terms for inventions, patents, and licensing set forth in the Stanford University Research Policy Handbook. Continued project funding is contingent on team participation in HAI activities including, but not limited to, progress reports, research seminars, periodic workshops, and development events. Funded projects are expected to list financial support from Stanford HAI Hoffman-Yee Grants in all publications resulting from this funding.

LOI finalists who are asked to submit Full Proposals will be notified by Dec. 5, 2019 and Full Proposals will be due by 11:59 PM on Jan. 30, 2020. Project teams will be selected and notified of their funding decision by March 13, 2020.

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