Global Literacy & Accessibility Challenge request for proposals

    About

    At Facebook, we strive to build communities across the globe and bring the world closer together. To do so, we need to reduce the barrier for everyone to participate, regardless of their backgrounds and abilities.

    Lack of literacy skills has been shown as one of the top challenges for people to adopt technologies and take part in the social communications online. Although, as a whole, we have made a lot of progress in education and literacy over the past 5 decades, as of 2014, there were still 758 million adults – two-thirds of which are women – lacking basic reading and writing skills.

    Facebook is pleased to invite the academic community to respond to this call for research proposals to better understand and address global literacy and accessibility issues. Research awardees will be expected to contribute to the field of literacy and accessibility through qualitative or quantitative research, including, but not limited to:

    • Novel, scalable methods on assessing individual or population literacy levels.
    • Understanding the experiences and challenges associated with literacy issues, eg learning disabilities or barriers due to English as a second language.
    • Understanding the social, structural, and technology issues that prevent people from improving literacy skills.
    • Understanding the impact of literacy skills on individuals and society.
    • Digital, social technologies used to improve literacy level, especially, closing the gender gap in literacy rate.
    • Design and development of technologies to elevate the literacy barrier, preferably with a focus on social and AI technologies.

    Applicants should submit a two-page proposal outlining their intended research and a budget overview of how the funding will be used. Additionally, participants need to submit a research timeline with quarterly milestones.

    Awards will be made up to $30K USD per proposal for projects up to one year in duration beginning August 2018. No Facebook data will be provided to award recipients. Successful proposals will demonstrate innovative and compelling research that has the potential to significantly deepen the scientific understanding on literacy issues and lower the socio-technological barriers for people with limited literacy skills. Award amounts will be determined at the sole discretion of the evaluation committee. Participants will be required to demonstrate milestone completion and present their research results at the sixth-month mark (January 2019). We will award four research awards.

    Representatives from each awarded project will be invited to a workshop with other participants in November 2018 to share preliminary results, and are expected to attend an evaluation meeting in late January 2019. Opportunities for a second round of funding will be determined at the January meeting. 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.

    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 open. Applications close July 25, 2018, 11:59pm PST.
    • Notification process: Successful awardees will be notified by email in early August, 2018.

    Apply