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SSRC Social Media and Democracy Research Grants

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    Matthew K. Gold

    The Social Science Research Council (SSRC)

    Social Media and Democracy Research Grants

    Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis, with the next period of review beginning October 10, 2018.

    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.

    Preparing Your Application
    Detailed submission guidelines and requirements are outlined in the Request for Proposals (RFP).

    Submitting Your Application
    All grant applications must be submitted through the SSRC Application Portal, located at

    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, but staff can answer questions about the program submitted to:

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