Loading Library Hours...

Data Purchase Program

The deadline for FY 22 requests has passed. Please consider contacting us with your data purchase requests beginning in July 2022.

Program description

The University Library is soliciting applications from faculty, graduate students, and academic professionals who need to purchase numeric, spatial, or textual data for their research.  The University Library will make the data purchased or licensed as part of this program available for general use by the campus community.  Award amounts will vary depending upon need and the availability of funding from other sources such as departmental, college, or other grant funds. However, the availability of outside funding is not a condition of receipt of funding from the Library.

Awards will be targeted toward meeting smaller needs (ca. $5,000 range). However, the amount available to be awarded for individual proposals will depend up on the total number and suitability of applications received.

Awards will be made on a competitive basis after the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1st), with orders being placed largely during the fall semester and with anticipated availability in the spring semester. Applications will be considered as long as funds are available and the purchase can be completed by the end of the fiscal year (June 30th).

Eligible Researchers

Faculty, academic professionals, and graduate students at the Urbana-Champaign campus whose research requires numeric (i.e., survey, observational), spatial, or textual data.

Eligible Data Sets

Data requests can be for repackaged public data or for data collected by individual researchers that is subsequently made available for a fee.  The library strongly prefers to acquire data that are accessible online rather than on DVD or other tangible storage media.  For licensed data, this grant program will only support a license for one year.  Other library funds may be available to continue the license after the first year but continued access cannot be guaranteed.  Library funds will only be used to purchase data that can be made available to researchers across campus.

For examples of past awards, see the Data Purchase Program Datasets page.

Selection Criteria


An online application that articulates the goals of the research project, the importance of the requested data to the research, and the uniqueness or unique functionality of the requested data compared to other sources of the same data (if applicable).  For example, discuss the merits of acquiring commercially repackaged housing data relative to the value of the same data available from a free online source.


  • Purchased data is preferable to licensed/subscribed data
  • Data that are accessible on the Internet are preferable to data in tangible storage media (for example, CDs).

How to apply

Submit your application online  Please contact Carissa M. Phillips, choller@illinois.edu, if you have questions about this form.

Other requirements:

Grant recipients may be invited to give a brownbag talk, hosted by the University Library’s Scholarly Commons, about how they are using the data, focusing on methodology and issues related to the data rather than on the results of their research.

Publications based on the data purchased with the grant must contain the following acknowledgment: The author wishes to acknowledge the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which provided support for the completion of this research.

Contact information for questions:

Carissa M. Phillips
Data Discovery and Business Librarian