March 24, 2020

2020 Networking request for proposals

This Research Award is now closed


In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have extended the deadline for this RFP from Monday, April 20 to Thursday, May 21 to give research teams additional time to submit proposals and focus on caring for their families, friends, and communities. We also understand that universities may experience some challenges regarding support for grant programs now and in the coming months. We will continue to work closely with research teams and universities on this. For any additional questions, please contact

Networking is fundamental to the large-scale, distributed systems that power the family of Facebook applications that are used by billions of people. At Facebook, we focus on making innovative and scalable networking technology by rethinking traditional approaches and designs and collaborating with research and open source communities to develop an ecosystem of open hardware and software.

Over the years, we have developed and shared the details of numerous networking systems such as FBOSS, Robotron, Edge Fabric, Data Center Fabric, Express Backbone, Open/R, Proxygen, Katran, and many more. To foster further innovation in networking and to deepen our collaboration with academia, Facebook is pleased to invite faculty and graduate students to respond to this call for research proposals pertaining to the topics below. We anticipate awarding a total of three-six awards, each in the $50,000 range. Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university as an unrestricted gift.

Applications are now closed

Application Dates

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have extended the deadline for this RFP from Monday, April 20 to Thursday, May 21.

  • Launch Date March 24, 2020
  • Deadline May 21, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. AOE
  • Winners Announced August 2020

Areas of Interest

Networking systems research has a wide range of topics. Each year, we focus on specific topics that can benefit the research community and Facebook, where topics may change from year to year. This year, we are asking for proposals in these two categories:

  • Host Networking: Innovation of host networking stack, such as NIC architectures, rate limiting, multi-tenant applications, low-latency/high-performance applications, and congestion control.
  • Transport Security: Scaling encryption for very large quantities of data, formal verification of TLS, transparent encryption, and enforcement of encryption policies.

The proposals will be evaluated by our engineer team members working on related topics based on novelty, feasibility, and applicability to Facebook’s production networks.


Proposals should include

  • A summary of the project (1-2 pages) explaining the area of focus, a description of techniques, any relevant prior work, how the broader research community will benefit from the work, and a timeline with milestones and expected outcomes.
  • A draft budget (1 page) including an approximate cost of the award and explanation of how funds would be spent.
  • Curriculum Vitae for all project participants.
  • Organization details including tax information and administrative contact details.
  • Keyword: Select the primary research area “Hosting Networking” or “Transport Security” that is more relevant for your proposal. This will assist in the appropriate assignment of reviewers.


  • Awards must comply with applicable U.S. and international laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Applicants must be a current full-time faculty at an accredited academic institution that awards research degrees to PhD students.
  • Applicants must be the Principal Investigator on any resulting award.
  • Applicants may submit individually or in teams. However, each applicant may only submit one proposal per solicitation.
  • Applicants and all individuals involved in the preparation of the proposal or use of any resulting award must reside in the Territory.

“Territory” is defined as any area, country, state, territory, or province where applicable laws do not prohibit applying for or receiving a grant in this RFP and excludes China, Cuba, Crimea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar/Burma, Syria, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Belarus and any other area or country designated by the applicable agency that designates trade sanctions. Government officials, political figures, and businesses politically affiliated (all as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion) are not eligible to apply for the grant.

Additional Information

Award recipients will be listed on the Facebook Research website and will also be invited to discuss their findings/insights with Facebook researchers.

For additional questions related to this RFP, please email

Frequently Asked Questions

Most of the RFP awards are an unrestricted gift. Because of its nature, salary/headcount could be included as part of the budget presented for the RFP. Since the award/gift is paid to the university, they will be able to allocate the funds to that winning project and have the freedom to use as they need. All Facebook teams are different and have different expectations concerning deliverables, timing, etc. Long story short – yes, money for salary/headcount can be included. It’s up to the reviewing team to determine if the percentage spend is reasonable and how that relates to the decision if the project is a winner or not.

We are flexible, but ideally proposals submitted are single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt font.

Research awards are given year-round and funding years/duration can vary by proposal.

Yes, award funds can be used to cover a researcher’s salary.

Budgets can vary by institution and geography, but overall research funds ideally cover the following: graduate or post-graduate students’ employment/tuition; other research costs (e.g., equipment, laptops, incidental costs); travel associated with the research (conferences, workshops, summits, etc.); overhead for research gifts is limited to 5%

One person will need to be the primary PI (i.e., the submitter that will receive all email notifications); however, you’ll be given the opportunity to list collaborators/co-PIs in the submission form. Please note in your budget breakdown how the funds should be dispersed amongst PIs.