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Office of the Vice President for Research

Governance, Norms and Values – Research on the Future Internet

Sponsor: 
The Knight Foundation
Deadline Notes: 
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. This call will remain open until otherwise indicated. Please monitor kf.org/internetrfp for updates.
Description: 

Background

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation seeks to support fundamental research that addresses issues of rules, norms and governance of the internet and digital platforms. Recent research, policy debates and public controversies have highlighted the absence of uniform consensus on the norms, rights and responsibilities that should govern digital services, in particular social media. 

We wish to fund scholarly inquiry and novel approaches that will strengthen our democracy as the digital age progresses. This opportunity is open to a range of research institutions, including universities and policy centers.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation seeks to support fundamental research that addresses issues of rules, norms and governance of the internet and digital platforms. Recent research, policy debates and public controversies have highlighted the absence of uniform consensus on the norms, rights and responsibilities that should govern digital services, in particular social media. 

We wish to fund scholarly inquiry and novel approaches that will strengthen our democracy as the digital age progresses. This opportunity is open to a range of research institutions, including universities and policy centers.

Opportunity

We seek to support efforts that advance research – both theoretical and empirical – on topics related to governance and the rights and responsibilities of individuals, commercial interests, non-governmental organizations and government in the digital era. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Content: the rights and responsibilities of users of services, as well as the rights and responsibilities of social media companies and digital service providers, with regard to content. This includes issues of content moderation, content liability, algorithmic content generation and optimization, as well as actual or potential harms and benefits associated with digital/platform services.
  • Market: how to understand the digital services and social media marketplaces, including theories of competition, empirical work on the nature of these markets, and issues of market concentration and power.
  • Regulation: regulatory response – in terms of self-regulation, consumer behavior and government regulation – including new regulatory theories and specific regulatory proposals. Our interest comprises laws and rules, jurisdictional questions, regulatory infrastructures—within government, specific commercial concerns and civil society (consumers and non-governmental actors), and regulatory enforcement.

Types of Activities Funded

We will consider proposals to support:

  • Research and Pedagogy
    • Course relief to enable faculty research
    • Publication development, such as special journal issues or volumes
    • Collaborative efforts of researchers from multiple institutions
    • Research assistant(s)
    • Symposia, workshops or other convenings
    • Legal clinics or other innovative pedagogy that engages students in these topics
    • Data acquisition
  • Faculty
    • New full-time faculty or researchers
    • Visiting professorships
  • Fellowships
    • Post-doctoral fellows
    • Visiting fellows (for non-faculty or mid-career scholars from industry/government)

This opportunity is open to a range of research institutions, including universities and policy centers.

How to Apply

We invite letters of interest of no more than three pages that address the following, as applicable:

  • What is your research objective?
  • Why is it significant in understanding the future of internet governance?
  • What activities do you seek to have funded?
  • Budget (if multiyear, include a complete budget by year)
  • Short bios of the principal investigator(s), with emphasis on previous ad rem research
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