Applications closed

2022 Meta AR/VR Policy Research Request for Proposals for the Asia Pacific Region

About

In collaboration with the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong

We develop technology rooted in human connection that brings people together. As we focus on helping to build the next computing platform, our work across augmented and virtual reality and consumer hardware will deepen that human connection regardless of physical distance and without being tied to devices.

The “metaverse” is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more. It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful.

The metaverse isn’t a single product one company can build alone. And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10 to 15 years, which gives us time to ask difficult questions about how they should be built.

Meta, in partnership with the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong, would like to work with the academic community in the Asia Pacific region to develop solutions-focused research to identify positive approaches in thinking through policy issues, challenges, and opportunities in the metaverse and augmented and virtual reality. Here are a few key areas:

  • Economic opportunity: How we can give people more choice, encourage competition, and maintain a thriving digital economy
  • Privacy: How we can minimize the amount of data that’s used, build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses, and give people transparency and control over their data
  • Safety and integrity: How we can keep people safe online and give them tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with
  • Equity and inclusion: How we can make sure these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible
  • New use cases: What are new applications of immersive technology that create substantial value for people and communities

To foster further innovation in this area, and to deepen our collaboration with academia, Meta and the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong are pleased to invite faculty to respond to this call for research proposals pertaining to the aforementioned topics. We anticipate awarding a total of six awards, each in the $100,000 USD range. Payment will be made to the proposer's host university as a gift.

The awards are funded by the Meta XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year, $50 million investment in programs and external research to help in the effort of building the metaverse responsibly.


Applications Are Currently CLosed

Application Timeline

Applications Open

June 27, 2022 (Hong Kong)

Deadline

July 28, 2022, at 11:59 PM (Hong Kong)

Winners Announced

September 2022

Areas of Interest

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following.

1. Economic opportunity: How we can give people more choice, encourage competition, and maintain a thriving digital economy. Here are some recommended research questions and topics, for example:

  • How can we lower barriers to access to economic opportunity for creators, developers, SMBs, NGOs, and educators in the metaverse?
  • Enabling / frameworks for interoperability in the metaverse
  • Enabling / frameworks for data portability in the metaverse

2. Privacy: How we can minimize the amount of data that’s used, build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses, and give people transparency and control over their data. Here are some recommended research questions and topics, for example:

  • How can the metaverse enable interoperability and data portability while keeping data secure and protecting privacy?
  • What guardrails should there be for biometric data and inferences that can be made from that data?
  • What guardrails are needed for using XR data for advertising?
  • How do we preserve user privacy when recording multi-modal data that includes health indicators (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, and so on) as well as eye tracking/kinematics/etc?
  • Frameworks for bystander privacy in the context of wearable devices (such as AR glasses)
  • Biometrics and human computer interaction (HCI) privacy models in the context of wearables

3. Safety and integrity: How we can keep people safe online and give them tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with. Here are some recommended research questions and topics, for example:

  • How do we encourage community safety and well-being in the metaverse?
  • What are the main principles for safety, privacy, and well-being that need to be considered for developing a safe metaverse experience?
  • What are some of the key harms anticipated in relation to women’s safety, and what solutions can be proposed to address these harms?
  • What are some of the key harms anticipated in relation to child safety, and what solutions can be proposed to address these harms?
  • What are some of the specific measures needed to protect young users (minors), to enable them to have a safe and responsible metaverse experience?
  • What should the role of the government be in creating a safe environment, while still enabling industry to develop the metaverse in an innovative and responsible manner?
  • What rules or policies should govern how virtual content is created and shared, in public and private spaces?

4. Equity and inclusion: How we can make sure these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible. Here are some recommended research questions and topics, for example:

  • How will the growing use of VR require new forms of digital literacy, specifically for the less skilled, to avoid an even bigger digital divide? What could potential frameworks look like?
  • How can we increase accessibility of devices and of immersive experiences?

5. New use cases: What are new applications of immersive technology that create substantial value for people and communities. Here are some recommended topics and applications, for example:

  • Education, training, and skills-building
  • Wellness
  • Cultural promotion and preservation
  • Sustainability
  • Climate resilience

Requirements

Proposals should include

  • A summary of the project (one to two pages), in English, 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 (one 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

Eligibility

  • The proposal must comply with applicable U.S. and international laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Applicants must be current faculty or employed in a role focused on research at an accredited academic institution, university, non-governmental institution, or non-profit organization. Students, including PhD students, are not eligible as applicants.
  • Applicants must be the Principal Investigator on any resulting award.
  • Meta cannot consider proposals submitted, prepared, or to be carried out by individuals residing in or affiliated with an academic institution, university, non-governmental institution, or non-profit 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 Meta in its sole discretion) are not eligible.
  • Applicants cannot be current employees or contractors at Meta or any of its affiliated brands.

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 Meta 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 proposals 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. Is it possible to list both of our names as PI for an RFP proposal?

    Co-PIs are welcome! 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.

  • Can I have a co-PI from a different institution?

    Absolutely. We welcome submissions from collaborators/co-PIs at the same or different institutions. (See FAQ above for co-PI submission form instructions.) Please note, payment will be made to the primary PI’s host institution. It can be further disbursed by that institution.

  • If a proposal is selected as a winner and has co-PIs from different institutions, can you split the award?

    As mentioned above, we welcome submissions from multiple co-PIs from the same or different institutions on a single proposal. All names and institutions will be named as part of the award communication on the Meta Research website; however, the full amount of the award payment will be made to the primary PI’s host institution and can be further disbursed by that institution.

  • What are the terms and conditions if my proposal is selected as a winner and is awarded as a GIFT?

    Generally, RFP winners that are awarded as gifts will be provided a standard Meta-branded gift letter requiring signature from an authorized university representative in order to initiate the payment process. University representatives, administrators, or other partners with an interest in the specific terms can review below. The gift letter contains standard terms and conditions included in all Meta gift letters with academics, such as:

    • The gift is inclusive of all fees and charges that may apply.
    • The management and expenditure practices and any assessment applied to the gift shall be done in accordance with university policies and procedures.
    • Meta will have no control or influence over the independent conduct of any studies or research performed using the gift, or over the dissemination of research findings.
    • All intellectual property or data resulting from the use of the gift will be retained by university/institution and university/institution may publicly disclose the results of research supported by the gift in academic publications, presentations, grant/funding applications, etc.
    • The university/institution confirms that its acceptance and use of the gift:
      • will not interfere with the official duties of its faculty or employees and that the university/institution will not allow its faculty or employees to perform any official action to improperly benefit Meta.
      • complies with applicable regulations, policies, and rules of the university/institution.
      • will not violate applicable laws, including laws relating to export control, trade sanctions, anti-corruption, or political activities laws.
      • does not conflict with any other obligation university/institution, its faculty or employees may have to any other party.
      • the university/institution will promptly inform Meta of any circumstances that would make acceptance, retention, or use of the gift inappropriate.
    • Both parties shall agree in advance on the content of any public announcement or posting relating to the gift and written consent must be obtained to use either parties’ name, trademark, or logo in any such public announcement or post.
    • Meta may include a factual statement about the gift in its public reports or blog posts on the research.facebook.com website without prior notice to or consent from the university/institution.

Terms & Conditions

Meta’s decisions will be final in all matters relating to Meta RFP solicitations, including whether or not to grant an award and the interpretation of Meta RFP Terms and Conditions. By submitting a proposal, applicants affirm that they have read and agree to these Terms and Conditions.

  • Meta 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 Meta to be appropriate and at Meta sole discretion. Meta’s decisions will be final in all matters relating to its RFPs, and applicants agree not to challenge any such decisions.
  • Meta 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 Meta RFP website and evaluating the contents of the proposal.
  • Personal data submitted with a proposal, including name, mailing address, phone number, and email address of the applicant and other named researchers in the proposal may be collected, processed, stored and otherwise used by Meta for the purposes of administering Meta’s RFP website, evaluating the contents of the proposal, and as otherwise provided under Meta’s Privacy Policy.
  • Neither Meta nor the applicant is obligated to enter into a business transaction as a result of the proposal submission. Meta is under no obligation to review or consider the proposal.
  • Feedback provided in a proposal regarding Meta products or services will not be treated as confidential or protected by copyright, and Meta 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 Meta RFP and to grant the rights set forth herein on behalf of their organization. All awards provided by Meta 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.
  • Funding for winning RFP proposals will be provided to the accredited academic institution, university, non-governmental institution, or non-profit organization with which the primary investigator / applicant is affiliated pursuant to a gift or other funding model as specified in the RFP call. Applicants understand and acknowledge that their affiliated institution / organization will need to agree to the terms and conditions of such gift or other agreement to receive funding.
  • Applicants acknowledge and agree that by submitting an application they are consenting to their name, institution / organization’s name and proposal title being made public on Meta’s blog on the research.facebook.com website if they are chosen as an RFP winner or finalist. If an applicant is selected as a winner or finalist, they will then have the opportunity to provide written notification that they do not consent to the research.facebook.com blog inclusion.
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