Unique Data Grants

We are committed to bridging the affordability gap for researchers who require funding to purchase large datasets for their research. To broaden access to these expensive resources, the Unique Data Grant program connects researchers with Libraries staff with expertise in collections acquisitions for one-time purchases of unique datasets. In an effort to further our open scholarship goals and encourage the reuse of data, once purchased, this data will remain freely accessible in perpetuity to others who might need it. 

Additionally, this program is not for licensing or subscribing to databases or related products that will incur ongoing annual costs.


  • All current Columbia University faculty, students, and staff with an active UNI are eligible to apply

Funding & Support Available

  • A total of $100,000.00 is available for all combined awards
  • Consultative support from Digital Scholarship Staff on each phase of the research data lifecycle

Awardees will be required to:

  • Consult with CU Library experts, including relevant liaison librarians and Research Data Services
  • Deposit a research product based on use of the dataset to the Academic Commons
  • Acknowledge CUL in research product utilizing the resource

Additional Information

There are various metrics by which requests will be evaluated, and our committee will prioritize requests

  • That are feasible within the allocated budget
  • Where our staff can negotiate licenses that are as broadly accessible as possible; restricted or semi-restricted microdata are not supported
  • That have wide applicability and likelihood for reuse

Application Process

To apply, submit an Expression of Interest by May 30, 2024 with the following information:

  • Project description
  • Estimated cost of requested dataset 
  • Vendor information
  • Intended use and potential for reuse of dataset
  • Alternative funding sources for requested data

For additional information on the application process, or to schedule consultations relating to data acquisition, data analysis, and data management please contact digitalscholarship@library.columbia.edu.            


  • Expressions of Interest due May 30
  • Preliminary review of requests in June
  • Data Consultations with Library staff in June/July
  • Internal discussions/decisions/inquiries to vendors in July
  • Decisions and notifications in July