April 23, 2019

Networking Systems request for proposals

This Research Award is now closed


Networking is fundamental to today’s large scale distributed systems that power the family of Facebook applications that are used by billions of people. At Facebook, we focus on making networking technology more flexible and scalable 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, Datacenter 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 aforementioned topics. We anticipate awarding a total of six awards, each in the $50,000 range. Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university as an unrestricted gift.

Award Recipients

Italo Fernando Scota Cunha

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

RFP: Networking Systems - 2019

Mun Choon Chan

National University of Singapore

RFP: Networking Systems - 2019

Radhika Mittal

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

RFP: Networking Systems - 2019

Srinivas Narayana Ganapathy

Rutgers University

RFP: Networking Systems - 2019

Srinivasan Seshan

Carnegie Mellon University

RFP: Networking Systems - 2019

Y. Richard Yang

Yale University

RFP: Networking Systems - 2019

Applications are now closed

Application Dates

Notifications will be sent by email to selected applicants by August 2019.

  • Launch Date April 23, 2019
  • Deadline June 7, 2019
  • Winners Announced August 2019

Areas of Interest

Networking systems research has a wide range of topics. We would like to take a more focused approach in soliciting interesting projects that can benefit the research community and Facebook, where topics may change from year to year. Specifically, this year, we are interested in proposals that fall into these two categories:

  • Improving network efficiency with intelligent control, such as traffic engineering, routing, cache management, and congestion control
  • Programmable switches and their applications, such as troubleshooting, hardware acceleration, and new routing protocols

Applicants should submit a proposal detailing what contribution their research is expected to make, how the research domain and Facebook will benefit from the work, project timeline, and a budget overview of how the proposed funding will be used.


Proposals should include

  • A summary of the project (2 pages maximum) 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
  • Organization details including tax information and administrative contact details


  • Awards must comply with applicable U.S. and international laws, regulations and policies.
  • Applicants must be 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.

Timing and Dates

  • Applications are now closed.
  • Notifications will be sent by email to selected applicants by August 2019.

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.

Terms & Conditions

  • 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.
  • 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.