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2024 BDP Call for Clusters: Data Science & AI Initiative

Over the last decade, the BDP program has charted an innovative course for interdisciplinarity in research and scholarship at Johns Hopkins and in higher education. Now Hopkins’ impact will be further enhanced by incorporating BDPs as a signature element of our new initiative to harness emerging opportunities and address challenges presented by the explosion of available data and the rapid rise of AI technologies.


Thirty new BDPs will be recruited to act as human bridges in data science and AI through dual-appointments. Bringing depth and breadth in both data science and AI and one or more other areas of application, these BDPs will weave data science, data-driven research, and AI even more fully into the fabric and future of the university, integrate diverse application domain knowledge into the data science and AI initiative, and transform discovery and innovation in areas such as medicine, energy, public policy, society, the humanities, climate, public health, business, and education.

As you consider possible clusters, we encourage you to consult with colleagues and leadership across the university. Proposals are strongly encouraged from every corner of the institution. Each BDP cluster will focus on advancing a specific interdisciplinary research area closely tied to data science, machine learning, or artificial intelligence. The goal is to address urgent global challenges by bringing together BDPs with a shared focus on translating these technologies into practical solutions within carefully chosen domains. By concentrating on distinct fields, the BDP clusters strive to make targeted and impactful contributions, solving real-world problems and effectively translating technological progress into practical applications.


We anticipate that each research cluster will be composed of 3-4 BDPs at the associate or full professor level. A handful of positions will be held for investment in targeted hires. We expect the majority of the appointments to be between the Whiting School of Engineering and another academic division or APL; however, joint appointments outside of Whiting will be considered based on the research scope of the BDP. The BDP can hold their administrative home in either school depending on the academic case.

The clusters will include investment by the participating departments or schools through start-up packages, salary support, infrastructure investments, and more. Junior hires will not be pre-assigned to these clusters; additional faculty lines can be added to the recruitment packages based on the specific needs and requests of the candidates.

Consider best practices for cluster hiring when crafting your cluster research area. Your input in this process is invaluable. Proposals are strongly encouraged from every corner of the institution.

Still have questions? Check out our 2024 BDP Cluster Proposals Frequently Asked Questions.

Anticipated Timeline:

November 2023 – Call for clusters released

December 6, 2023 – Virtual Community Town Hall – View Town Hall Recording | Download Town Hall FAQ | Download Presentation Slides

February 19, 2024 – Cluster letters of intent due – InfoReady Submission Portal | [Submit via Email]

LOI Requirements:

February 2024 – Internal review of cluster LOIs

Mid-March, 2024 – Invitation for full proposals

April 22, 2024 – Full cluster proposals due

April-May 2024 – Review and proposed selection of cluster proposals by distinguished external committee

Summer 2024 – Final selection of clusters

Cluster Evaluation Criteria:


  • Equivalent involvement of two or more divisions
  • Aligns with priorities of the data science and AI initiative, and divisional leadership

Evaluation (scored 1-5):

  • Recruitment area is centrally aligned with data science, machine learning or artificial intelligence, seeks to solve a pressing world problem, and is bringing together BDPs focused on translation
  • Importance of this recruitment area to its broader field
  • Area that leverages existing institutional strengths
  • Growth in this field complements the strategic plans of the associated divisions
  • Clear justification for interdisciplinary BDP positions and understanding of the field’s landscape
  • Candidates demonstrate a commitment to the translation of science into real-world products or services

Letters of Intent – Due February 19, 2024

[Downloadable PDF version of Cluster Proposal Submission Instructions]

[InfoReady Submission Portal] | [Submit via Email]

LOI Requirements:

I. Cluster title

II. Cluster leads: 2-4 faculty who will organize the cluster searches with assistance from the BDP team


III. Vision for the cluster (2 pages, 11+ font, 1 inch margins)

  • A. What big questions will this cluster enable us to address? Describe the broader field and the pressing problems this research area seeks to solve.
  • B. In what ways is Johns Hopkins uniquely positioned to solve these problems?
  • C. How will these recruitments capitalize on current areas of institutional strength to build strength around emerging opportunities?
  • D. How does this cluster align with the strategic plans of the involved divisions?

IV. Three (3) potential BDP names. These candidates should not be contacted; they should exemplify the recruits the team would pursue. (2 pages maximum, 11+ font, 1 inch margins)

For each candidate:

  • A. Research and translation synopsis (1 short paragraph)
  • B. Alignment with the cluster (1 short paragraph)
  • C. Potential appointments at Johns Hopkins (Interdivisional recruitments are standard for BDPs. Intra-divisional appointments will be considered in exceptional cases.)

Potential BDP list must be reflective of the diversity and inclusion policy of the institution (University Statement / Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion)

V. Ten (10) colleagues from at least two schools/divisions supporting the cluster recruitment (required: three department chairs/directors/heads among the group)

Invited teams will receive a link to the full proposal submission portal in late February. 


  • LOI Review: An internal committee will select approximately 12 teams to move forward to a full proposal. This committee is composed of the university’s vice/associate deans for research, divisional business officers (DBOs), leadership from the Provost’s Office, and the data initiative’s interim leadership.
  • Full Proposal Review: Distinguished external faculty and domain leaders will be recruited to provide guidance on the selection. We expect to create approximately three review committees of approximately 5 reviewers each. They will be demographically and academically diverse. Committee members review all proposals in their section and are assigned the discussion leader for the proposal closest to their area of expertise.
  • Reviewers will provide recommendations to the President, Provost, deans and directors for a final selection of awarded clusters.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Contact

    Vice Provost for Research

    265 Garland Hall
    3400 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21218

    (443) 927-1957

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