Applications closed

2022 Systems Research Request for Proposals


Every day, billions of people connect with each other through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and many other Meta products. Our Core Systems researchers and engineers design, build, and deploy the foundation of Meta’s private cloud that powers Meta’s infrastructure and meets our business needs.

We strive to build strong collaboration with experts in academia to tackle some of the most challenging problems. While all proposals are welcome, we are especially interested in those addressing fundamental challenges that arise in distributed systems operating at a large scale. Besides the general area of distributed systems, there are three areas that we are particularly interested in partnering with academia to solve:

  1. Infrastructure control planes: How can we efficiently manage, co-locate, and provide predictable performance for thousands of services running across a global data center footprint?
  2. Service abstractions and efficiency: How can we more effectively define the service abstraction to better virtualize physical infrastructure for thousands of interdependent services?
  3. Global service management: How can we provide service operators better flexibility and stronger guarantees in managing geo-distributed global services on issues such as dependencies, SLOs, load balance, and service placement?

To foster further innovation in these fundamental distributed system challenges, and to deepen our collaboration with academia, Meta is pleased to invite faculty to respond to this call for research proposals. We anticipate awarding up to six research awards, each in the $50,000 range. Payment will be made to the proposer's host university as an unrestricted gift.

Award Recipients

Carnegie Mellon University

Dimitrios Skarlatos

Carnegie Mellon University

Akshitha Sriraman

University of Utah

Ryan Stutsman

University of Toronto

Ding Yuan

University of California, San Diego

Yiying Zhang

Purdue University

Yongle Zhang

Applications Are Currently CLosed

Application Timeline

Applications Open

April 5, 2022


June 6, 2022 at 5:00pm AOE (Anywhere on Earth)

Winners Announced

September 2022

Areas of Interest

While all proposals are welcome, we are particularly interested in those addressing fundamental challenges that arise in distributed systems operating at a large scale. Example topics include the following:

1. Infrastructure control planes

  • Predictable system performance (reducing outliers)
  • Novel hardware/software co-design
  • Using machine learning to improve system control
  • Platform management
  • Fundamental APIs/abstractions
  • Serverless computing

2. Service abstractions and efficiency

  • Client/server library abstractions
  • Resource efficiency
  • Infrastructure virtualization
  • Distributed service architectures

3. Global service management

  • Service dependency modeling
  • SLO definition methodology and validation
  • Automated capacity planning
  • Load balancing
  • Latency-optimized service placement
  • Deployment and management


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


  • The proposal must comply with applicable U.S. and international laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Applicants must be current full-time faculty at an accredited academic institution that awards research degrees to PhD students.
  • Applicants must be the Principal Investigator on any resulting award.
  • Only one proposal per Principal Investigator can be submitted but they can be listed as a Co-Principal Investigator on another submission.
  • Meta cannot consider proposals submitted, prepared, or to be carried out by individuals residing in or affiliated with an academic institution 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.

Additional Information

  • Award recipients will be listed on the Meta Research website and will also be invited to a Core Systems Faculty Summit to discuss their findings and insights.
  • We encourage the winners to openly publish any findings or insights from their work.
  • For additional questions related to this RFP, please email

Frequently Asked Questions

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 academic institution 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 academic institution 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, university / organization’s name and proposal title being made public on Meta’s blog on the 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 blog inclusion.