Funding Opportunities


IDSAI Visiting Fellowships

Deadline for applications: rolling applications 

The IDSAI welcomes Visiting Fellows from all disciplinary backgrounds and at various stages of their careers.
Visiting Fellows are researchers from external academic or non-academic organisations who are resident in the Institute for short periods of time. During their Fellowship, Fellows conduct their own research whilst benefiting from, and contributing to, the research culture of the IDSAI.

If you would like to propose a Fellow, please read the further information about the resources available for Fellows and the application process. Applications must be submitted by a sponsor who is a member of academic staff in Exeter. Applications can be submitted at any time and will be considered on a rolling basis. Decisions will be communicated within two weeks of submission.

IDSAI Research Awards (for University of Exeter staff only)

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Tuesday 17th September, 2019

IDSAI Research Awards aim to support early-phase development of ideas for innovative, interdisciplinary data science and AI research across Exeter.  Academic members of staff from all Colleges are invited to apply for the time of an IDSAI Research Fellow to work with them on a pilot research project.

It is expected that by the end of an IDSAI Research Award the recipients will have generated new pilot data to underpin future applications for funding or which will provide the foundations for research publication(s).

This is the first call for IDSAI Research Awards.  In future we expect to issue calls twice annually. 

PDF call document

Please read the following information carefully.


Applications for IDSAI Research Awards are invited from academic members of staff in all Exeter Colleges and departments.

Research awards will support pilot research projects in interdisciplinary data science and/or artificial intelligence aligned to the aims of the IDSAI. We are therefore seeking applications to utilise data science/AI approaches to address research challenges in any area of the sciences, arts and humanities. Please note that applications where the majority of the work is considered to be routine data analysis will not be supported.

To ensure that projects are interdisciplinary, applications should be led by two PIs from different disciplines. Typically, this would include one PI from a data science discipline; however, effective project teams may be composed differently. Please get in touch if you are not sure whether your project team meets this requirement.

Proposals may include additional external collaborators where these individuals bring skills or resources not available within Exeter.

IDSAI Research Awards provide researcher resource to kick-start new projects. Through working with an IDSAI Research Fellow, we hope to see transfer of skills and knowledge exchange within the applicant team which will enable promising projects to be taken forward after the end of the award.Projects will preferably represent potential for novel data science/AI, as well as innovation in the area of application.

Funding Available

Applications for IDSAI Research Awards may request the following:

  • Fully-funded time of an IDSAI Research Fellow up to 0.5 FTE, for a maximum of 6 months. Applicants are able to suggest projects of differing duration and resourcing as long as this limit is not exceeded.
  • Up to £1000 for associated research costs, including (but not limited to) HPC time/credits, travel and subsistence costs associated with visits to project partners, minor computing hardware/software. (Please note that Research Fellows have their own equipment sufficient for most data science research needs).

How to Apply

All applicants should contact an IDSAI Research Fellow to discuss their project idea in advance of applying. Fellows will be able to help shape ideas and advise on the skills available within the team. Please send the following completed documentation to by 5pm on the call closing date.

  • Case for support (max 3 sides of A4, at least 11pt font with 2 cm margins), with details under each of the following headings:

    • Project aims and potential for innovative, interdisciplinary data science/AI research
    • Outline research methodology
    • Data science/AI skills needed to complete the project (to enable us to match you with an appropriate IDSAI Research Fellow)
    • Collaborators and what they will contribute (if appropriate)
    • Expected outputs. Potential for academic and/or societal impact. Plans for future funding
    • Resources requested – please state the proposed duration and %FTE of researcher time required. Please justify any additional research costs up to a maximum of £1000.

Please also state which IDSAI Research Fellow you have consulted prior to submission.

  • Data annexe – max 1 side of A4, detailing the availability and nature of data to be utilised in the project. Please detail any pre-work needed to make the dataset suitable for use in the project and how this will be resourced.


Applications will be assessed by the IDSAI Management Group, with input from the IDSAI Research Fellows, based on their fit to the following selection criteria:

  • Quality, novelty, ambition and timeliness
  • Interdisciplinarity and alignment to the aims of IDSAI
  • Appropriateness of the proposed research methodology
  • Potential for academic impact and knowledge exchange

Projects awarded funding will be required to:

  • Attend a kick-off meeting where a project plan, start and end dates will be agreed.
  • Write a final report at the end of the award and present the outcomes of their project to the IDSAI Management Group.
  • Present their work at IDSAI events if requested

Call Timetable

  • Call for applications issued  - 24th July 2019
  • Information webinar - 16th August 2019
  • Call closes - 17th September 2019
  • Review panel meets - 24th September 2019
  • Decisions communicated - 25th September 2019
  • Kick-off meeting W/B - 30th September 2019
  • Projects start by - 31st October 2019
  • Maximum possible end date - 1st May 2020 


For additional information or general enquiries about this call please email or contact Jill Williams, IDSAI Senior Administrator, 01392 727505.

To discuss your project idea please contact one of our IDSAI Research Fellows:

Dr Oliver Stoner
Dr Dmitry Kangin

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document.  

These FAQs will be updated regularly:

1. Can a PI from an external organisation (other university or non-academic partner) lead a project?

No. Collaborators are welcome where the necessary skills, experience or access to data is not available within Exeter but two PIs for each project must be drawn from within Exeter.

2. Can I ask for more than 6 months of Research Fellow time?

No. The maximum resource available is 6 months at 0.5FTE of Research Fellow time. However we will consider different models for resourcing within this. Please discuss your idea and resourcing needs with an IDSAI Research Fellow in the first instance.

3. Can I request additional funds for attendance at conferences?

No. Additional funds up to a maximum of £1000 can be requested for costs directly related to the research project, e.g. travel and subsistence associated with visits to external partners, minor computing hardware/software, HPC credits. Attendance at conferences, workshops or networking meetings will not be supported.

4. What data science expertise can IDSAI Research Fellows provide?

IDSAI Research Fellows are skilled postdoctoral researchers with expertise in the following areas:

  • Bayesian statistical methods
  • Accounting for flawed data
  • Spatio-temporal modelling
  • Multi-level modelling
  • Machine vision, including visual object tracking
  • Machine learning, including
    • Generative models for spatiotemporal signal prediction
    • Reinforcement learning

The most important skill that our Research Fellows have is the ability to construct models, adapt existing approaches and develop new machine learning/AI tools to help address your data-related research challenges.

5. I have an idea for an application but I don’t yet have a partner – who can help?

Please send a short description of your idea to and we will be happy to connect you with a data scientist or other researchers in the area of application of your project.

6. Do I have to talk to an IDSAI Research Fellow before submitting my application?

Yes – this is so that we can be sure that your proposed project is feasible with the resources available and to help you best shape your ideas.

7. Do I have to attend the webinar?

No, but it may help to improve your application and answer any questions you may have. You can sign up for the webinar here.


For general enquiries not covered by the FAQs please email or contact Jill Williams, IDSAI Senior Administrator, 01392 727505.