HDSI Undergraduate Financial Opportunities
HDSI Scholarship Program

The UC San Diego Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI) is emerging as a world leader in data science research, and its mission is strongly focused on the training and education of the next generation of leaders in Data Science. One way in which the HDSI accomplishes this is by supporting students, scientists, and faculty in developing new data analytic methods and infrastructure, and to foster “data science thinking” in a variety of problems in science, technology, engineering, government, the arts, and humanities to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

HDSI Undergraduate Scholarships 2020

Justin Yang

What cognitive mechanisms underlie the ability to draw objects at different levels of specificity? In this study, we explore the hypothesis that the ability to draw objects at different levels of specificity jointly depends on the abstract, conceptual knowledge we have about objects and our immediate visual experience of the world around us. To this end, we recruited a sample of adults to draw familiar objects at the specificity of a category, and of an instance. We found a difference in the recognizability of drawings that could not be explained by the amount of ink used in each drawing.

Justin Kang & Shone Patil

Using NFL rushing data we built pursuit vector based simulations with the goal of predicting how many yards a running back will gain on a given play. We utilized feature engineering to build out an accurate physics engine to simulate plays. Merged Madden game data with original rushing data to enhance realism of simulations. Compared outcomes of our prediction method to others such as histogram and K-Nearest Neighbors.

 Advitya Gemawat

Scalable systems for Machine Learning are largely siloed into dataflow systems for structured data and deep learning (DL) systems for unstructured data. This gap has left workloads that jointly analyze both forms of data with poor systems support, leading to both low system efficiency and grunt work. Vista is a new data system that resolves systems issues by elevating entire transfer learning workloads to a declarative level on top of Parallel Dataflow and DL systems. Vista automatically optimizes configuration and execution of this workload to reduce computational redundancy and improve workload reliability.

About the HDSI Scholarship Program

The Halıcıoğlu Data Science Undergraduate Scholarship Program supports multidisciplinary student-led projects. The scholarships will provide opportunities for students to work closely with a mentor to develop analytical skills, develop data science portfolios, and foster novel data-driven approaches to problem solving.

Examples of data-driven projects include applications of methods, tools, and infrastructure for heterogeneous dataset integration, machine learning, geospatial analyses, scalable computing, data visualization, data ethics, and privacy. Priority will be given to applications that employ novel and creative data scientific approaches with specific potential impact to application areas.


Student Eligibility:

  • The program is open to all UC San Diego undergraduate students who are enrolled in classes. Students must be planning to enroll in classes through the Fall 2021 quarter to be eligible. 
  • Priority will be given to students in the Data Science major or minor.
  • A student may participate in at most one application in a given application cycle.
  • Students may apply in a group provided that all group members meet eligibility requirements. Group size may not exceed 3 students.
  • Student applications will not be penalized if a mentor is not yet identified; they are judged solely on the merit and feasibility of the ideas. The HDSI will work closely with awardees to identify suitable expert mentors once scholarship winners are identified.

Mentor Eligibility:

  • Mentors can be faculty, research scientists, project scientists, and Data Science and Engineering Master of Advanced Study students, or alumni.
  • There are no restrictions on how many projects a mentor can advise as long as the mentor is able to provide high quality, one-on-one advice and guidance.

Undergraduates or mentors who have previously received HDSI funding are eligible for future funding.

Award Information

In order to ensure that we are able to fund a large amount of projects, award totals differ for individual projects and group projects. Please see below: 

Individual Projects:

  • Each award will consist of $2500 awarded to the student. Mentors will receive $500 total in unrestricted research funds. 

Group Projects: 

  • Groups of 2 students will be awarded $2250 each. Mentors will receive $500 total in unrestricted research funds. 
  • Groups of 3 students will be awarded $2000 each. Mentors will receive $500 total in unrestricted research funds. 
  • Up to 20 scholarships are available in this cycle. Students and mentors will be notified in mid-December of their application decision.


The budget period is up to 12 months between January 1st, 2021 through December 31st 2021.

There is no indirect cost associated with this program. Project scholarship funds are intended to be maximally flexible for directly benefiting the trainees. Funds may be spent for salary or stipends to augment existing pay for students, or to pay for conference travel, training costs outside UC San Diego, research allowances, supplies, and small equipment or use of facilities.

Proposal Format and Criteria:

Main Application:

    • Project Title
    • Name and major of the Applicant
    • Name, title, and department/organization of the Mentor (if already identified)
    • Overview of the proposed project and outcomes expected, emphasizing any unique aspects (1000 characters).
    • Brief description of Project and Methods that explains your project in simple language, and describes how you will carry out the work as planned.(1500 characters).
        • Cite work related to your project that can be used as a starting point. Describe how and where you will acquire the data for this project. Identify the main challenges that you expect to face and how you might address them.
    • One-paragraph Project Coordination Plan describing how you will coordinate with your mentor (and team, if applicable) to ensure progress and success (1000 characters)
        • This should include a plan of how often you will meet, how and where you will store code/data, etc.
    • Applicant Resume: Up to two 2 pages.

Award Conditions:

Each mentor awardee agrees to:

  • Supervise, mentor, provide guidance and direct the work of the Scholarship Trainees. Mentors should be available to meet awardees on a regular basis.
  • Follow all required UC San Diego policies and protocols (e.g., IRB, IACUC, Research Integrity, etc.).
  • Spend project funds in accordance with award guidelines.
  • Ensure that the Trainee presents the research at the HDSI Scholarship Symposium.
  • Submit a final report at the end of the award period that includes a list of publications, presentations, press releases, and follow-on grants that have resulted from the research (lead mentors who fail to submit a final report may be disqualified for further HDSI funding).
  • Applicants agree and acknowledge their participation in the HDSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program may be recorded and used by HDSI to support its program and objectives, including but not limited to using such materials on digital websites and social media.  To opt out, applicants must email DSCStudent@ucsd.edu by the application deadline herein.  Applicants’ opt out submission is independent of and will not affect their potential application selection.

Additional Information

Applications will be considered for up to one month and decisions will be announced to enable a proposed start date between the allowed budget period for the current round of awards.