The first step in applying to participate as a capstone partner involves writing a project proposal. Check out our About page to learn more about the type of projects we address through our capstone course.

Proposals for 2020 should be submitted through our proposal form here. A sample proposal is available here.

The instructions for filling out the form are below:

About your organization

Briefly introduce your organization

Brief description of the problem/question

Just a brief description of the problem. If you’d like, you can suggest data science approaches that the students can take to address the problem, but this is not necessary.

Available data

Describe the data that you will make available to the students:

  • How much data is there?
  • What type of features are available?
  • How clean is the data?
  • In what form will the data be available to the students?

Data Product

What product(s) would you like to receive from our students, and what (in general) should it communicate or have the ability to do? Examples:

  • A dashboard, such as a Shiny or Dash app, to explore an aspect of your data
  • An R or Python package with documentation to simplify an analysis
  • A data pipeline that includes some data science model
  • A report outlining student findings

Outline the gist of the legalities you intend to have in place, if any – particularly on how secretive you anticipate the students to be with the data and their finished data product. The key here is to just put the main ideas here, not an actual legal document (we’ll address that later).

We understand that you may require some restrictions to be put in place, but we also would like for our students to have some freedom to talk about the work they’ve done when applying for jobs. We want our students to know about these restrictions up-front so that they can make an informed decision about the project. In the proposal, please be as concrete as possible: do you anticipate students will be able to open-source the code they write? Publish a blog post about their work? Discuss it in a private job interview?

This section should also include any other requirements of students participating in the project, like background checks, etc.

Conflicts of interest

Declare any conflicts of interest. For example, if a current MDS student or family member is involved with your organization on a professional or personal level, this should be declared along with a short explanation. These situations are generally not problematic, but we prefer to disclose them to the students before they rank the projects.