May 18, 2018

Crisis Informatics request for proposals


This Research Award is now closed

As social media and messaging apps continue to become important communication tools in people’s everyday lives, they have also come to play important roles in how people prepare, respond to, and recover from disasters. For example, Facebook’s Safety Check and Community Help features make it easier for people impacted by a disaster to let loved ones know when they are safe, and request and offer help with neighbors, and Facebook’s Disaster Maps provide insights into evacuations and connectivity issues to humanitarian organizations responding to a crisis.

Facebook is supporting new and innovative research in the area of crisis informatics to make social media tools more useful to people responding to or impacted by a disaster. The research should explain how social media is currently used during a disaster, and it will unlock new tools and products to improve disaster response and recovery. No Facebook data will be provided to award recipients.

We are pleased to invite the academic community to respond to this call for research proposals on crisis informatics and the role of social media in disaster response and recovery. Research awardees will be expected to contribute insights and innovative solutions in this space, including but not limited to:

  • Methods for assessing the validity, relevance and usefulness of crisis maps or other data products for disaster preparedness, response and recovery
  • Topics and themes of social media posts that transcend individual regions, languages and disaster types
  • Methods for identifying disaster relief needs and conditions on the ground from social media posts and civilian reporting
  • Statistical models of movement, evacuation and long-term displacement due to natural disasters
  • Quantitative and qualitative insights into how humanitarian response organizations make use of social media or crisis informatics datasets for disaster preparedness, response and recovery
  • Novel techniques for visualization of social media crisis data
  • Case studies in the use of social media crisis data by humanitarian organizations
  • Data privacy in crisis informatics and social media crisis data
  • Bias and fairness in social media crisis data and its impact on disaster response

Submitted projects do not need to be about Facebook, and no Facebook data will be provided to award recipients. Successful proposals will demonstrate innovative and compelling research that has the potential to significantly advance the understanding and value of social media and social media data for disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

Representatives from each awarded project will be invited to a workshop with other participants in January 2019 to share preliminary results, and are expected to attend an evaluation meeting in May 2019. Travel costs to Menlo Park CA, USA should be included in the proposed budget. Award recipients will be listed on the Facebook Research website and will be encouraged to openly publish any findings from their work as well as make any code available as open source.

Three $50,000 USD gifts will be awarded.

Proposals should include

  • A summary of the project (1-2 pages) explaining the area of focus, a description of techniques, any relevant prior work, and a timeline with milestones and expected outcomes
  • A draft budget description (1 page) including an approximate cost of the award and explanation of how funds would be spent
  • Curriculum Vitae for all project participants

Timing and dates

  • Applications are now closed.
  • Notification process: Successful awardees will be notified by email in October 2018.

Additional Terms and Conditions

Facebook’s decisions will be final in all matters relating to this solicitation, including interpretation of these Terms and awards at any time. Awards will be subject to additional Terms and Conditions for awardees which will be communicated to recipients after selection. All items apply unless otherwise stated above. Please Read These Terms Carefully Before Proceeding.


  • By submitting a proposal, you are authorizing Facebook to evaluate the proposal for a potential award, and you agree to the terms herein.
  • You agree that Facebook will not be required to treat any part of the proposal as confidential or protected by copyright, and may use, edit, modify, copy, reproduce, and distribute all or a portion of your proposal in any manner for the sole purposes of administering the website and evaluating the contents of the proposal.
  • You agree and acknowledge that personal data submitted with the proposal, including name, mailing address, phone number, and email address of you and other named researchers in the proposal may be collected, processed, stored and otherwise used by Facebook for the purposes of administering the website and evaluating the contents of the proposal.
  • You acknowledge that neither party is obligated to enter into any business transaction as a result of the proposal submission, Facebook is under no obligation to review or consider the proposal, and neither party acquires any intellectual property rights as a result of submitting the proposal.
  • Any feedback you provide to Facebook in the proposal regarding its products or services will not be treated as confidential or protected by copyright, and Facebook is free to use such feedback on an unrestricted basis with no compensation to you.
  • Applicants represent and warrant that they have authority to submit a proposal in connection with this RFP and grant the rights set forth herein on behalf of their organization.


See this page for full Terms and Conditions.