Announcing the SIGKDD Impact Program Recipients for 2018

Announcing the SIGKDD Impact Program Recipients for 2018

SIGKDD is excited to announce the funding of awards through its newly established KDD Impact Program. The SIGKDD community has expanded its reach dramatically over the past few years and the KDD conference has grown into a major event. SIGKDD would like to direct its success towards a broader positive societal impact.

The goal of the program is to support projects that promote data science, increase its impact on society, and help the data science community. Project duration is one year with the possibility of being extended. Funded projects will be required to present mid-project results of their work and outcomes at the KDD 2018 conference in London in August 2018.

The total amount of funding provided by the KDD Impact Program this year is $250k with a proposed range of $10k-$100k available for each project. Funding will be given as unrestricted gifts.

Selection Criteria

The KDD Impact Program was looking to fund projects that have the potential for maximum impact on the society and expand outreach of data science thereby strengthening the community. Sample topics we provided were to seed ideas around:

  • Enhance data science community engagement;
  • Expand outreach of data science;
  • Increase diversity and participation in data science;
  • Increase societal impact of data science;
  • Influence public policy through data science.

The KDD Impact Program is NOT a research program. It focuses on projects that benefit the community and the society. Pure research projects will not be funded. The call is open to every country, participant must be affiliated to an institution with reputable standing. Funds are to be used for not-for-profit activities, and this program will not fund activities for which alternative funding is readily available.

There were 7 outstanding proposals that received widespread consensus to be eligible for funding for the KDD-IG18: SIGKDD Impact Program. These are:

Training the Next Generation of African Data Scientists, Kenya, $30,120

Project leaders: Isaac Markus (IBM Research Africa) and Audrey Cheng (The Moringa School) 

Cover organizations: IBM Research Africa and the Moringa School


Budding Data Scientists Hackathon, Singapore, $20,500

Project leader: Hui Xiang Chua

Cover organization: Hwa Chong Institution 


Community perspectives on the use of algorithms by Government, New Zealand, $50,000

Project leader: Professor Rhema Vaithianathan

Cover organization: Centre for Social Data Analytics (Auckland, New Zealand)


Women Data Science Leaders in Russia, Russia, $13,600

Project leaders: Alena Suvorova and Valeria A. Ivaniushina

Cover organization: National Research University Higher School of Economics


Summer Academy in Data Science for High School Students, United States, $50,000

Project leaders: Bamshad Mobasher, Lucia Dettori, Raffaella Settimi, and Daniela Raicu

Cover organisation: DePaul University


Data Science for Social Good Marketplace, United States, $50,000

Project leader: Rayid Ghani

Cover Organization: Center for Data Science and Public Policy, University of Chicago


Empowering Community Members to Understand and Use Big Data and Big Data Methods, United States, $35,785

Project leader: Lisa Schilling, MD, MSPH

Cover organization: University of Colorado School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine


On behalf of ACM SIGKDD we would like to thank the following members for their service on the award selection committee:

  • Jure Leskovec
  • Rayid Ghani
  • Jingrui He
  • Jian Pei
  • Claudia Perlich
  • Mohammed Zaki

The call for SIGKDD Impact Program proposals resulted in a broad participation with 75 submissions from 20 countries, covering a wide range of topics. 7 proposals from 5 countries were awarded funding according to the program selection criteria: enhancing data science community engagement, expanding outreach of data science, increasing diversity and participation in data science, increasing societal impact of data science, and influencing public policy through data science.

The selection committee members selected the top proposals as follows: Each submission was evaluated by three, randomly assigned judges, with each committee member judging half of the submissions. Each judge produced a ranked list of top 10 submissions from their assigned list of proposals. These six individual lists were merged into two unified rankings, applying two different methods. One method used judgements from all three judges, the second method only the two best judgements. The two resulting unified rankings were then discussed by the committee members, which selected top 7 proposals for funding.

The entire community is encouraged to reach out to the awardees and participate in the initiative supported by the awards. Each awardee will maintain a webpage outlining the initiative and calls for participation in the effort.

The funded projects will present their work at the KDD conference. They will also submit a final report, describing project goals and outcomes with emphasis on the project impact and findings.

ACM SIGKDD is committed to the transparency of the progress made through these awards and we will organize a session at each KDD to report the progress and performance of the projects.

Please contact Ankur Teredesai ( with any questions. 



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