Small Development Grants

The Small Development Grants program is a NumFOCUS microgrant program benefitting our Sponsored and Affiliated projects. The program helps projects fund important work that they might not otherwise be able to do like improving usability, growing project communities, and speeding up the time to major releases. Below you can view a list of work that has been funded under the program.

Interested in supporting Small Development Grants?

Small Development Grants Committee

The Small Development Grants Committee is a volunteer committee established by the NumFOCUS Board of Directors to help facilitate the Small Development Grants program. You can read more about the committee’s role and responsibilities in the charter.

The Members of the 2021 Committee:

Bryan Weber, Co-chair

David Pérez-Suárez, Co-chair

Larry Gray

Marcel Haas

Bradly Alicea

Tim Hoffmann

Roy Pamphile

Paige Bailey

Mridul Seth

Brian Skinn

Logan Kilpatrick

Pramod Misra

Alejandro Oliva

How to Join

If you are interested in serving on the committee you should subscribe to the NumFOCUS newsletter. Requests for applications are sent out each January via the newsletter.

2021 Funding Rounds

The total budget for 2021 is $170,00.00- $53,000.00 per round with $11,000.00 reserved for off-cycle grants.

2021 Funding Rounds


Round 1

  • Call for Proposals Announcement: February 5, 2021
  • Proposal Submission Deadline: March 5, 2021
  • Committee Selection Deadline: March 19, 2021
  • Notification to Applicants Deadline: April 15, 2021

Round 2

  • Call for Proposals Announcement: May 7, 2021
  • Proposal Submission Deadline: June 4, 2021
  • Committee Selection Deadline: June 18, 2021
  • Notification to Applicants Deadline: July 15, 2021

Round 3

  • Call for Proposals Announcement: August 6, 2021
  • Proposal Submission Deadline: September 3, 2021
  • Committee Selection Deadline: September 17, 2021
  • Notification to Applicants Deadline: October 15, 2021

Any NumFOCUS Fiscally Sponsored or Affiliated project is eligible to submit 1 proposal per grant cycle. Each project may receive a maximum of 2 grants per calendar year.

If a project would like to solicit proposals from its internal community, leaders must organize their own review process to select the proposal submitted on behalf of the project. Proposals may be submitted by residents of any country and work can be performed at any university, institution, or company worldwide (U.S. export laws and sanctions permitting).

Projects will be notified via the NumFOCUS internal project mailing lists that the call for proposals has opened. Applicants will be notified of proposal acceptance or rejection via the email address provided on the application on or before the notification deadline.

Usage of Funds

Grant funds can be used for: 

  • Code development 
  • Documentation 
  • Website updates 
  • Workshops and sprints
  • Educational, sustainability, and diversity initiatives 
  • Any work that directly benefits the project and/or its community

Proposed work must be achievable within one year.

Proposal Guidelines

Applications should be submitted via the Small Development Grants Proposal Submission Form. A doc with the application questions can be downloaded here

Available Funding

Available program funding is determined and approved annually by the NumFOCUS Board of Directors. A portion of the total funding may be allocated for Off-cycle Grants with the remainder divided equally between the three grant cycles. Up to $5,000 can be awarded for each proposal.

Objectives and Deliverables

Each proposal should include clear and concise objectives and deliverables. Whenever possible specific timelines should be included. The impact of the proposed work on the project and/or overall scientific computing community should be clearly illustrated.


Each proposal must include a detailed budget justification stating how grant funding will be allocated. As applicable, the following should be included:

  • Hourly rates and number of work hours for contractors
  • Equipment and/or supply costs if applicable
  • Cost of any services
  • Travel costs
Proposal Length

Suggested guidelines for word count can be found in the proposal application. Enough detail should be provided to give reviewers a clear understanding of the proposal’s objective but should not be so lengthy that it puts an undue burden on the evaluation process.

Proposal Evaluation Guidelines

Proposals will be evaluated and ranked from most impactful to least impactful. If possible, the maximum allocation of funding for each round will be awarded. 

  • Preference should be given to projects that did not receive funding in previous rounds. 
  • Preference should be given to proposals that have broader effects i.e. benefit the scientific computing community as a whole.
  • It is assumed that whoever submitted the proposal was approved by the project leadership. NumFOCUS does not require letters of support or other such documentation.
  • Projects may resubmit the same proposal if it was not funded or was partially funded in a previous round and resubmissions are given preference.
Funding Distribution

Funding will be dispersed by the finance team directly following the notification to applicants according to established financial procedures and guidelines:

  • All projects approved for funding must submit a request through the Small Development Grants Payment Form in order to receive the funds.
  • For fiscally sponsored projects only, NumFOCUS will deposit the grant funding directly into the project’s account. The project will then submit invoices through the normal channels (i.e. Rocket) to pay for grant expenses.
  • NumFOCUS will set up any applicable independent contractor agreements with the individual or company performing the work.
  • NumFOCUS will award the money as a grant or subcontract to a student or postdoc at a university as required (depending on the rules of the university).
  • NumFOCUS will directly pay for expenses associated with the grant as required (e.g. booking flights on behalf of project leaders to attend a workshop, per diems for travel days)

Projects to whom grants have been awarded will be required to submit a report to NumFOCUS describing the work that was performed under the grant and detailing any grant deliverables and outcomes. Reports will be due no later than three months after the close of the one-year period following the award of funds. Reports must be submitted on the Small Development Grants Report Back Form.

Off-Cycle Grants

Off-cycle Grants may be awarded to projects outside the established grant cycles if:

  • There is a time-sensitive aspect to the proposal which precludes it from being submitted and/or awarded during one of the established grant cycles
  • The project has not already received the maximum amount of grant funding allowed per project within the calendar year

Off-cycle proposals are evaluated and awarded by the NumFOCUS Board of Directors.

Previously Funded Programs

Proposal Title
FEniCS Travel grants to FEniCS Conference 2017 to encourage the transition from user to regular contributor $2,400 2017 1
PyTables h5py backend for PyTables $3,000 2017 1
NumExpr NumExpr-3.0 Beta $3,000 2017 1
SymPy SymPy 1.1 Release Support $3,000 2017 1
Orange Text Analytics Introductory Course for Social Scientists $1,750 2017 1
MDAnalysis Widening platform availability for MDAnalysis: Full Python 3 Support $1,500 2017 1
AMS Organization AMS Short Course on Open Source Radar Software $1,000 2017 1
Shogun Fully integrate new parameter framework, unify API/interfaces, and release Shogun 7.0. $1,500 2018 1
Orange Data Mining Girls go Data Mining $3,000 2018 1
SunPy Improving the Usability of SunPy’s Data Downloader $3,000 2018 1
Gensim Modern user-friendly documentation $3,000 2018 1
Cantera Modernize, Reorganize, and Update Cantera’s Documentation $3,000 2018 1
Spyder Spyder 4: Making the Scientific Python Development Environment even better $3,000 2018 1
Julia (Sheehan Olver) BlockBandedMatrices.jl: add support for general array backends (GPU) $3,000 2018 2
Bokeh Bokeh Docs Modernization $3,000 2018 2
Pomegranate Improving Documentation, Examples, and Tutorials $3,000 2018 2
SciPy Maturing a sparse array implementation for SciPy $3,000 2018 2
MDAnalysis MDAnalysis tutorial and hackathon $2,500 2018 2
Statsmodels Probability Plots and Generalized Additive Models (finish stalled pull requests) $3,000 2018 2
Shogun Shogun website and UX redesign $2,500 2018 2
pomegranate Adding compatibility with user-defined Python models $3,000 2018 3
SciPy An Efficient, High-Level Implementation of Linear Programming $2,000 2018 3
PyTables Better support for native HDF5 files $3,000 2018 3
conda-forge conda-forge sprint at SciPy 2019 $3,000 2018 3
Gensim FastText tutorials $3,000 2018 3
SymPy MatchPy C++ code generator for SymPy/symengine. $3,000 2018 3
Julia Multi-Dimensional Bisection Method for finding the roots of non-linear implicit equation systems $3,000 2018 3
Open Journals Open Journals website update $2,800 2018 3
Cantera The 3rd Annual Kinetics Code Conference: Charting near- and long-term directions for Cantera software development $3,000 2018 3
ArviZ Create educational material and give workshops related to exploratory analysis of Bayesian models with ArviZ $2,500 2019 1
pandas Improving and modernizing the introductory “Getting Started” pages of the pandas documentation $5,000 2019 1
Julia JuliaImages developer meeting $4,000 2019 1
Gensim Organize Gensim Documentation & Improve Discovery $5,000 2019 1
SciPy SciPy Development Documentation Overhaul $4,274 2019 1
Cantera The 4th Annual Kinetics Code Conference $4,000 2019 1
Cantera Cantera Packaging and CI Infrastructure Upgrades $2,500 2019 2
SciPy Complete the SciPy special functions documentation $2,500 2019 2
Spyder Creating the ultimate terminal experience in Spyder with Spyder-terminal $4,800 2019 2
Astropy Developing Spectroscopic Reduction Tools $5,000 2019 2
Blosc Document Blosc2 frame format and freeze API $5,000 2019 2
SymPy Expanding ODE Module $3,000 2019 2
Bokeh Websocket Optimization for Tornado (for Bokeh) $2,500 2019 2
Spyder Content and design improvements to the Spyder documentation $1,820 2019 3
rOpenSci Create an open online rOpenSci Community Contributing Guide $3,000 2019 3
pandas Encourage contributors from minority groups to lead efforts in improving pandas documentation $3,000 2019 3
SciPy Enhanced LAPACK Support in SciPy $4,978 2019 3
MathJax Improved Dyslexia Support via Fine Grained Synchronized Highlighting $4,688 2019 3
Matplotlib Matplotlib Cheatsheets $5,000 2019 3
conda-forge Unified Recipe Regenerator $3,750 2019 3
Shogun Shogun Developer Meeting, Berlin $4,000 2019 Off-cycle
MDAnalysis Periodic boundary handling and on the fly transformations $5,000 2020 1
PALISADE Student Project Integration In Support of PALISADE $5,000 2020 1
Effective Quadratures Web presence funding $800 2020 1
Julia Improving documentation generation for Julia and its packages $5,000 2020 1
GeoPandas Building a better base for the geospatial Python stack: vectorized geometric operations & Shapely 2.0 $5,000 2020 1
pandas Improved Performance Benchmarking for pandas $5,000 2020 1
nteract Improving accessibility and usability for nteract desktop app $5,000 2020 1
PyMC3 Improving and expanding the implementation of Approximate Bayesian Computation $5,000 2020 1
Shogun Hyperparameter tuning with Shogun $4,200 2020 1
Open Journals Docker images for the Open Journals processing pipeline $4,000 2020 1
ArviZ Extend InferenceData capabilities $1,000 2020 1
Julia Distributed scheduling with MLJ $5,000 2020 2
SciPy Improving boundary handling and data type support in scipy.ndimage $5,000 2020 2
Orange Text Add-on Video Tutorials $4,000 2020 2
Solcore Improve the sustainability and modularity of Solcore $5,000 2020 2
mlpack mlpack – Interactive Machine Learning Notebooks And Documentation $5,000 2020 2
GeoPandas Improvement and modernization of GeoPandas documentation $5,000 2020 2
rOpenSci Making rOpenSci Community Engagement More Sustainable $5,000 2020 2
SymPy Upgrading SymPy Gamma’s infrastructure to support Python 3 and latest SymPy $3,000 2020 2
Chainer Chinese documentation $3,000 2020 2
Shogun Improving Shogun’s build script generator $5,000 2020 2
TARDIS TARDIS Continuous Integration reference data improvements $2,000 2020 3
QuantEcon Theme improvements for Jupyter Book $4,975 2020 3
SunPy Adding first class support to SunPy for co-aligning images $5,000 2020 3
nteract Funding for improving nteract documentation $5,000 2020 3
conda-forge Add messaging functionality to conda and conda-build $5,000 2020 3
ITK ITK Python Documentation Expansion $3,500 2020 3
poliastro New validation framework for poliastro $3,000 2020 3
Cython Advancing the state of Cython 3.0 $5,000 2020 3
rOpenSci Building Engagement through a new Community Call – Virtual Hackathon Model $5,000 2020 3
PyTorch-Ignite Visibility and communications improvements $5,000 2020 3
Gensim Modernize Gensim Website $3,500 2020 Off-cycle
mlpack mlpack for the Internet of Things and embedded devices $5,000 2020 Off-cycle
Matplotlib Hosted mac-mini for testing OSX-specific bugs $3,000 2020 Off-cycle

NumFOCUS Sponsored Projects

pandas logo
SciPy logo
Julia logo
Astropy logo
Econ-ARK logo
Shogun logo
Cantera logo
MathJax logo
Dask logo
mlpack logo
Zarr Logo



pandas logo
SciPy logo
Julia logo
Econ-ARK logo
Astropy logo
Shogun logo
Cantera logo
MathJax logo
Dask logo
mlpack logo
Zarr Logo





pandas logo
SciPy logo
Julia logo
Astropy logo
Econ-ARK logo
Shogun logo
Cantera logo
MathJax logo
Dask logo
mlpack logo
Zarr Logo





I’ve learned so much through the use of your software, and the tools and have really helped many of my ideas come to fruition.

Santiago Gonzalez