Instagram’s mission is to bring people closer to the people and things they love. To achieve this, we need to invest in keeping our communities safe and understanding Instagram’s impact on human well-being. There is an ongoing conversation about how every day social media usage affects personal, community, and societal well-being, as well as the effect of those who use social media to compromise the safety and beliefs of others. To combat this, we have focused on technology and people to remove bad content and behavior from our services. While we do a lot to understand these problematic issues, the effectiveness of these efforts relies strongly on our engagement with foundational research and partnerships with social scientists.
In 2019, Instagram requests research proposals to help us better understand experiences on Instagram that foster or harm the well-being and safety of our communities and societies. This includes, but is not limited to, research that will help us understand problematic issues facing our communities, develop better policies, assess possible interventions to protect our communities, or identify the mechanisms (e.g., social support, social comparison) through which Instagram usage directly impacts well-being.
Instagram will grant awards of up to $50k USD per awardee to fund projects of up to one year in duration. This RFP challenge will be open to applicants worldwide from academic institutions and non-profit organizations. This includes individual researchers addressing a well-defined problem, or may require multiple university departments to collaborate with a diverse set of skills to solve a more complex multi-disciplinary challenge. We encourage emerging scholars and researchers studying these issues from perspectives around the world to apply.
Applications should include
- Summary of the project (1-2 pages): Include an explanation of the area of focus, a description of techniques, any relevant prior work, and a timeline with milestones and expected outcomes. Please also include a clear and concise statement of the scientific contribution and routes to eventual deployment.
- A budget description (1 page): Include an approximate cost of the project and explanation of how funds would be spent. Please also include funds for travel for the PI to attend a workshop in Menlo Park to discuss findings with the Instagram team in 2020.
- Curriculum Vitae(s): Provide the names of the researcher(s) involved in the proposed work with their CV/resume or links to Google Scholar pages.
- Previous collaborations: Indicate any previous or current connections/collaborations with Facebook (in which case please name the Facebook contacts).
- Organization details: this includes tax information and administrative contact details.
- Organizations must be a nonprofit or non-governmental organization with recognized legal status in their respective country (equal to 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code).
- Applicants must be the Principal Investigator on any resulting award.
- Applicants may submit one proposal per solicitation.
- Awards must comply with applicable US and international laws, regulations and policies.
- Proposals that require the use of Instagram, WhatsApp, or Facebook data will not be considered for funding.
Budget and Payment
- Award amount: can vary; typically up to $50,000.
- Payment: The award will be made to the PI’s host university as an unrestricted gift. Overhead is limited to 5% for gifts.
Timing and Dates
- Applications are now open. Deadline to apply is Wednesday, July 3 at 5:00 pm PST.
- Notifications will be sent by email to selected applicants in September 2019.
Award recipients will be invited to a workshop in Menlo Park, California to discuss their findings/insights with the Instagram Team in 2020. Please budget travel for one PI to attend as a part of the proposed project budget.
We encourage the winners to openly publish any findings/insights from their work. Successful awardees will be also listed on the Facebook Research website.
For additional questions related to this RFP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should projects focus on Instagram specifically, or can they be about well-being and safety for online platforms more broadly?+
If Instagram is not providing data for use in projects, should we collect and use publicly available Instagram data for our project?+
Should projects focus more on how to foster well-being or prevent harm to well-being?+