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The Good Systems Grand Challenge project is proud to announce the launch of three Year 2 Project Grant opportunities.  The Good Systems project funds research projects that help ensure artificial intelligence (AI) technologies meet the needs and values of society. Good Systems funding brings together researchers with varied disciplines and ways of thinking into teams that will collaborate on one or more Good Systems research areas of define, evaluate, or build:


  • DEFINE: Human values are different across individuals and groups of people, and they change over time. Given that diversity, we ask, What does it mean for a system that uses AI technology to be good? Good Systems projects aim to increase knowledge about what constitutes the “good” and the “system” in a good system.
  • EVALUATE: For any system that includes AI technology, we ask, How do we decide if it is good (or not)? Good Systems projects can increase knowledge about how to evaluate whether systems are good and how to bring stakeholder values into systems design.
  • BUILD: To understand the impacts of systems incorporating AI technology, Good Systems projects will investigate How can we best build good systems? Such Good Systems projects will test and refine comprehensive interdisciplinary approaches to building good systems incorporating AI technology, and this could include identifying testing venues, developing protocols, and building and deploying prototype designs.


Good Systems Project awards are available at three different levels, or “tiers.”  Project Tiers each fund different types of activities.  Individuals can serve as a Principal Investigator for a maximum of only one proposal, and they may be funded as a project team member on only one proposal per tier and on no more than two total submitted proposals overall. Teams whose proposals are not selected may resubmit their proposals in any subsequent relevant Good Systems funding calls.


Tier I Tier II Tier III
Up to $50,000

Up to 12 months

Up to $100,000

Up to 12 months

Up to $200,000

Up to 12 months

Continuation of year 1 Good Systems projects. Tier I Project awards, up to $50,000 per award, will go to Good Systems Year 1 project teams that demonstrate (1) substantial progress from year 1, (2) the need for additional funding to develop their project, and (3) a convincing plan to attract external funds for the project. Creation of new partnerships and/or the development of new project teams with proposals to advance research in one or more of the Good Systems research areas. Tier II Project awards, up to $100,000 per award, will go to groups that include at least one current Good Systems Network* member. Creation of City of Austin-centered research proposals to advance research in one or more of the Good Systems research areas. Tier III Project awards, up to $200,000 per award, will go to well-established and mobilized groups that include at least one current Good Systems Network* member and a City of Austin stakeholder partner.
Submit a Tier I proposal Submit a Tier II proposal Submit a Tier III proposal
*A list of current Good Systems Network members can be found on the Good Systems website under the “Network” tab: https://bridgingbarriers.utexas.edu/good-systems/#team. If you want to join the Good Systems Network please email (goodsystems@austin.utexas.edu).


Proposal deadline for all tiers is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020.


Application Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

Good Systems Project applications will be reviewed by the Good Systems Executive Team.  Awards will be announced on May 1, and funds will be disbursed Sept 1. Evaluation criteria include:



  • Demonstrated commitment by the team to establishing interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Evidence that this funding will enable the team to overcome barriers currently prohibiting them from collaborating.
  • Proposals with project teams that include collaborations across the humanities, social sciences, and technical disciplines are strongly favored.
  • Priority will be given to project teams that are inclusive of a broad range of social and technical disciplines. Project teams are encouraged to include UT staff or graduate students to broaden their project team’s range of disciplines.



  • The proposal clearly describes what objectives the project team intends to achieve, how the project team intends to reach them, and the anticipated implications of the project’s findings.
  • The proposed project clearly applies sound investigative methodology.
  • Data collection and analysis procedures are specified and are demonstrably linked to the research questions or hypotheses being investigated, wherever appropriate.
  • The proposal is written so that a person with no prior knowledge of the subject may make an informed judgment as to the scientific or scholarly merit of the proposed project.



  • The proposed research clearly fits within and move forward the selected research area.
  • The potential impacts of the proposed research are both scholarly (in the sense of advancing our understanding of Good Systems and leading to meaningful publications—listing planned venues is recommended) and societal (in the sense of potentially improving the world in some way).
  • The proposal is supported by citations of relevant scholarly literature.


Leveraging UT’s Investment

  • The proposed collaboration holds the potential to enhance UT Austin’s competitiveness in securing external funding.
  • The proposal clearly describes plans for pursuing external funding, including providing details about the targeted funders and programs, and how research from this project will feed into external funding proposals to one or more programs or agencies and make such proposals competitive.
  • If this is a continuation of a year 1 project, the proposal must clearly describe the progress made in year 1 and how the additional UT funding will allow the team to secure external funding.