The longstanding study of media effects on democracy and elections has taken on new resonance with the rise of social media platforms, the dramatic change in the business model of traditional news media, changes in advertising infrastructure, and increasingly globalized and interconnected communications. Recent revelations about the unintended disclosure of industry data and spread of disinformation across national borders make clear the need to better understand the impact of social media on society.Proposals for the Social Media and Democracy Research Grants should examine the impact of social media and related digital technologies on democracy and elections, generate insights to inform policy at the intersection of media, technology, and democracy, and advance new avenues for future research. This initiative seeks to study these processes in an independent, transparent, and ethical way according to the highest standards of data privacy and academic research, to improve the lives of all.
Researchers whose proposals are selected for support will receive research funding via the Social Science Research Council and access to Facebook data via Social Science One. The first dataset is a database of Facebook URL shares; details about these data, including the codebook can be found at the Social Science One Dataverse repository.
The research is funded by a group of charitable foundations including Laura and John Arnold Foundation, The Democracy Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Charles Koch Foundation, Omidyar Network, and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Applications are welcome from university researchers (or collaborative teams that include scholars from elsewhere, so long as the PI is a university-affiliated researcher) who:
– hold a PhD in a relevant discipline;
– hold a formal affiliation with an institution of higher education, and can submit the proposal with the support of that institution as the Principal Investigator (see Letter of Support, below);
– provide evidence that the proposed activities have been approved by a Common Rule-compliant University Institutional Review Board (IRB), federally approved IRB, or international equivalent, or meets the required criteria to delay IRB approval in order to receive financial assistance in doing so (for more details, see Award Information, above);
– have a clear research plan addressing the thematic issues of the grant program.
Eligible applicants may only request access to datasets available at the time of application.
However, the Principal Investigator listed on any application may only submit one proposal at a
time, and may only have one pending proposal at any one time.
Research projects shall not be funded if their primary goal is to aid in the election or defeat of
certain candidates or parties.
At this time, proposals must be submitted in English.
Submitting Your Application
All grant applications must be submitted through the SSRC Application Portal.
In order to apply through the SSRC Application Portal, you must create a unique login ID and a secure password. You may begin filling out a proposal, save it, and return to complete it at a later time.
This program does not provide pre-submission review of proposals.
For the deadline, rolling submissions with first review beginning August 9, 2018
For more information and to apply, click here.