Call for Proposals: Expanding Online Trust & Safety Research

A new research initiative offers funding to researchers studying trust and safety in the majority world. Applications due January 30, 2024
call for proposals

The Stanford Internet Observatory, with support from the Omidyar Network, is pleased to announce the launch of a pilot grants program to support researchers studying issues of online trust and safety in the majority world. The pilot program will fund 6-10 proposals broadly studying issues associated with online safety outside of the North American or Western European context. Topics within trust and safety might include, but are not limited to, fraud, harassment, information interference, abusive content, encryption, internet connectivity, child safety and content moderation. This grant program aims to support research that explores these issues in the majority world. Projects may, for example, investigate online abuse affecting users in underrepresented languages, on non-mainstream devices or platforms, and in diverse political and social contexts. The research should highlight the impact of trust and safety issues on users worldwide.

Trust and safety research is rapidly expanding, drawing on insights from various academic disciplines to comprehend and address online risks. New research will continue to inform our understanding of best practices in the field and the impact of platform design and policy changes on users around the world.

We are open to applications to support either qualitative or quantitative research, or both. We encourage applications for projects that involve original data collection (such as interviews or surveys) or original data analysis (such as analysis of a specific safety issue in a particular country on a specific platform). We cannot support projects that are exclusively reviews of existing literature.

Researchers can apply for funding of up to $15,000. Awardees will have opportunities for mentorship and feedback in the form of workshops to build a grantee community along with individual check-ins. The grant program will culminate with a virtual symposium bringing together all the program participants to present their papers. Awardees are encouraged to submit their research papers to the Journal of Online Trust and Safety or other peer-reviewed publications.



Researchers must be affiliated with an academic institution, research institution, think tank, NGO, journalistic organization, or civil society organization that will be the recipient of the research grant.

The proposal can include work that is ongoing or incremental to a larger project.


Proposal guidelines

Researchers interested in participating in this program must submit an application form and supplemental materials. Applicants will be asked to provide:

  1. Name(s), title(s) and affiliation(s) of participating researchers
  2. A 2-page, single spaced, font size : 12 summary proposal, structured as follows:
    • Brief motivation for proposed project
    • Research question(s) to be addressed
    • Context: Where will the research take place?
    • Research Methodology (please be as detailed as possible)
    • Brief explanation for why you/your team is qualified to conduct this research
  3. Project Timeline
  4. Itemized Budget which specifies activities that the funding will be used for, such as:
    • Data acquisition (for example, survey implementation costs, transportation costs for interviews)
    • Researcher time


Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • How relevant is this project to the current field of online trust and safety?

  • Will the research question result in new knowledge in the field, either through a novel question or through a new global perspective?

  • How feasible is it for the research team to complete the project in the indicated timeframe?

  • Does the proposed methodology  adequately address the research question(s)?


Timeline and Application

Proposals can be submitted using the link below. All attachments should be in .docx or .pdf format. Application due date is January 30, 2024. Awards will be announced by March 1, 2024.  For any application related questions, please email

Funding will be disbursed in two phases with 70% of the funding at project start and 30% after submission of the final deliverable.

Application Link


Following is the timeline of the grant program:


  • Call for Applications —------------------------------November  1, 2023

  • Info Session---------------------------------------December 13, 2024

  • Application Deadline--------------------------------January  30, 2024

  • Awardees Announcement----------------------------March 1, 2024

  • Project Commencement—----------------------------April 1, 2024

  • Workshop 1----------------------------------------June, 2024

  • Mid-Point Check-in---------------------------------September, 2024

  • Workshop 2----------------------------------------January, 2025

  • Final Deliverable Submission--------------------------April, 2025