Request for proposals on agent-based user interaction simulation to find and fix integrity and privacy issues
Software systems increasingly support communities of users who interact through the platform, elevating the importance and impact of research on integrity and privacy. How do we ensure that such communities remain safe and their data remains private?
To tackle these challenges, Facebook is undertaking research and development on a Web Enabled Simulation (WES) system called WW. WW is a multiagent simulation that trains agents (bots) using automated learning and optimization to simulate the social behavior of a range of good and bad actors. The simulation aims to automatically find and fix integrity and privacy issues.
In this call, we are particularly interested in research work that tackles these challenges and that could also lead to collaboration with our WW project. More details, including open research problems and challenges we hope to tackle in partnership with the scientific community, can be found in the keynote paper on the WES agenda and WW project.
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 3–8 awards, each in the $50,000 range. Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university as an unrestricted gift.
Applications are now open
Notifications will be sent by email to selected applicants by August 2020.
Launch Date May 26, 2020
Deadline July 15, 2020, 5:00 p.m. AOE
Winners Announced August 2020
Areas of Interest
Topics of interest for this RFP include (but are not limited to):
- AI-assisted gameplay
- Causal inference
- Evolutionary computation
- Game theory, graph theory
- Information theory
- Machine learning
- Multiagent systems
- Predictive modeling
- Programming languages
- Search-based software engineering
- Software repository mining
- Software resting (in particular, social testing)
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 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.
- Facebook cannot consider proposals submitted, prepared or to be carried out by individuals residing in, or affiliated with an academic institution located in, a country or territory subject to comprehensive U.S. trade sanctions.
- Government officials (excluding faculty and staff of public universities, to the extent they may be considered government officials), political figures, and politically affiliated businesses (all as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion) are not eligible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you typically limit the salary of the PI in the gift?
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.
Should the proposal be double- or single-spaced? Is there any required/expected font?
We are flexible, but ideally proposals submitted are single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt font.
What is the award cycle or when does the funding year begin and end?
Research awards are given year-round and funding years/duration can vary by proposal.
Can award funds be used to cover a researcher's summer salary while conducting research?
Yes, award funds can be used to cover a researcher’s salary.
Can you please explain the budget breakdown in more detail?
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%
We are working as co-PIs and are at the same institution. Is it possible to list both of our names as PI for an RFP proposal?
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
Facebook’s decisions will be final in all matters relating to Facebook RFP solicitations, including whether or not to grant an award and the interpretation of Facebook RFP Terms and Conditions. By submitting a proposal, applicants affirm that they have read and agree to these Terms and Conditions.
- Facebook is authorized to evaluate proposals submitted under its RFPs, to consult with outside experts, as needed, in evaluating proposals, and to grant or deny awards using criteria determined by Facebook to be appropriate and at Facebook’s sole discretion. Facebook’s decisions will be final in all matters relating to its RFPs, and applicants agree not to challenge any such decisions.
- Facebook will not be required to treat any part of a proposal as confidential or protected by copyright, and may use, edit, modify, copy, reproduce and distribute all or a portion of the proposal in any manner for the sole purposes of administering the Facebook RFP website and evaluating the contents of the proposal.
- Neither Facebook nor the applicant is obligated to enter into a business transaction as a result of the proposal submission. Facebook is under no obligation to review or consider the proposal.
- Feedback provided in a proposal regarding Facebook 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 the applicant. The submission of a proposal will not result in the transfer of ownership of any IP rights.
- Applicants represent and warrant that they have authority to submit a proposal in connection with a Facebook RFP and to grant the rights set forth herein on behalf of their organization. All awards provided by Facebook in connection with this RFP shall be used only in accordance with applicable laws and shall not be used in any way, directly or indirectly, to facilitate any act that would constitute bribery or an illegal kickback, an illegal campaign contribution, or would otherwise violate any applicable anti-corruption or political activities law.
- Awards granted in connection with RFP proposals will be subject to terms and conditions contained in the unrestricted gift agreement (or, in some cases, other mechanisms) pursuant to which the award funding will be provided. Applicants understand and acknowledge that they will need to agree to these terms and conditions to receive an award.
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