November 13, 2019

Privacy Preserving Technologies request for proposals


This Research Award is now closed

Facebook builds communication tools for people to engage with the people, activities, and businesses they love. Our family of apps helps people communicate in a variety of ways, ranging from direct person-to-person chat, group-based communication, enterprise collaboration, public engagement, commercial communication, and many others. Our tools are used daily by billions of people worldwide. Facebook is a leader in deploying privacy preserving technology, most notably for using default end-to-end encryption to safeguard communications in both WhatsApp and in Messenger ‘Secret Conversations’.

We also aspire to lead in developing new privacy preserving technologies. These technologies enable us to offer leading services while minimizing the data we collect, process, or retain. By integrating novel privacy preserving technologies in our products we aim to build trustworthy experiences that people love to use.

To foster further innovation in this area, and to deepen our collaboration with academia, Facebook is pleased to invite faculty to respond to this call for research proposals pertaining to the topics below. We anticipate awarding a total of five research awards, each in the $50,000 – $100,000 range. Payment will be made to the applicant’s host university as an unrestricted gift.

As part of the award, the winner (maximum two authors) will be invited to the 2020 Privacy Faculty Summit at our Menlo Park headquarters. The winner will also be allowed to invite one PhD student to attend the summit. Air/travel and hotel expenses will be paid for and arranged by Facebook and are in addition to the research award.

This year, we are specifically interested in proposals that fall into the following categories:

  • Technologies to support people’s privacy rights (access, deletion, portability, and so on)
  • Privacy preserving analytics and machine learning
  • Data anonymization and quantification of privacy leaks
  • Private, high-integrity, client-side services (end-to-end encryption, blockchains, and so on)
  • Privacy-by-design methodologies, technologies, toolkits, and frameworks
  • Encrypted data processing
  • Techniques to proactively discover and surface privacy violations in complex applications
  • Application auditing methodologies to assure transparency, privacy, and compliance

We are interested in both theoretical, foundational work and work motivated by and focused on specific real-world problems.

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.
  • Organization details; this will include tax information and administrative contact details


  • Awards must comply with applicable US 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 open. Deadline to apply is December 20 at 11:59 p.m. AOE.
  • Notifications will be sent by email to selected applicants in February 2020.

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.


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