Applications closed

Ethics in AI Research Awards - India


AI technological developments pose intricate and complex ethical questions that the industry alone cannot answer. Important research questions in the application of AI should be dealt with not only by companies building and deploying the technology, but also by independent academic research institutions. The latter are well equipped to pursue interdisciplinary research that will benefit society.

To help support thoughtful and groundbreaking academic research in the field of AI Ethics that takes into account different regional perspectives these areas, Facebook is opening a call for papers in India on the areas of interest listed on this page: operationalizing ethics/explainability/fairness; governance; and cultural diversity. The questions and themes under each of these three key areas are just examples of possible research questions, applicants are encouraged to come up with their own proposals and to leverage, as much as possible, regional context and local examples in their submissions. This line of research will complement and amplify the line of research that the TUM Institute for Ethics in AI is conducting.

The proposals will be shortlisted by a team of Facebook reviewers and recommended to an external board for final selection.

Award Recipients

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Dr. Rahul De’

Centre for Law and Policy Research

Sudhir Krishnaswamy

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Animesh Mukherjee

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

Amit Sethi

Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi

Richa Singh

International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore

Varadharajan Sridhar

Applications Are Currently CLosed

Application Timeline

Awardees will be notified by October 5, 2019 and all funds will be dispersed within three months of the award date (no later than the end of the calendar year).

Launch Date

June 17, 2019


July 13, 2020

Winners Announced

September 2019

Areas of Interest

Operationalizing Ethics / Explainability / Fairness

  • Policy makers are emphasizing the need for ethics by design (see ICDPCC Declaration on Ethics and Data Protection in Artificial Intelligence here). What should be the aim of ethics by design? What should ethics by design consist of? How can academia and industry partner in order to promote and advance ethics by design practices and frameworks? What important issues could an ethics by design framework miss? What other processes should supplement it?
  • What methods, processes, and frameworks can companies and governments leverage in order to better understand and operationalize ethics within their own sectors and activities? How can ethical principles be implemented in practice, ensuring the responsible and ethical development of AI?
  • How can developers and companies ensure that their AI systems and applications are built in a fair and unbiased way? How can developers and companies ensure that their AI systems are explainable, what is the purpose of the latter, and what does it entail? How should social science and humanities questions around explainability and fairness be embedded into the technical design of AI? What best practices can we advance in this space?


  • Which governance models (regulatory, co-regulatory and self-regulatory) would be the most appropriate ones at this stage for which AI applications?
  • How do hard and binding legal instruments, namely existing and proposed legislation, and ethical AI governance frameworks (soft law, non-binding) interact and mutually influence each other? Does the former stem or preempt the latter, are they complementary or competing?
  • How do you see the role of Ethical Codes in the broader regulatory landscape (e.g., Code of Ethics for Autonomous Cars)? How should they relate to laws and regulations (either existing or being debated)?

Cultural Diversity

  • How should AI developers and companies foster and apply a multicultural approach to the ethical design of AI?
  • Is there a way to support a global approach while acknowledging important cultural differences?
  • What methodologies, processes and frameworks can researchers and product developers utilize in order to identify and address ethical challenges in a way that takes into account different regional perspectives?


To Apply

The RFP is open to academic institutions, think tanks, and research organizations registered and operational in India. We ask applicants to submit a 2-3-page proposal, which should include:

  • A research question and a clear statement of work that can be completed with 6 months of award. Applicants are encouraged to leverage, as much as possible, regional context and local examples in their submissions.
  • A summary of the project (1-2 pages) explaining the area of focus, a description of techniques, relevant prior work, and a timeline with milestones and expected outcomes (recall that the timeline should not be more than 6 months)
  • A draft budget description (<1 page) including an approximate cost of the award and explanation of how funds would be spent. Proposals are highly encouraged to focus funding on project personnel, especially PhD students. Proposals from small collaborative teams are also encouraged. The proposed budget should be within INR 10,00,000 to INR 20,00,000. Please note that in the submission form you will be asked to provide the requested amount in USD.
  • Name(s) of the researcher(s) involved in the proposed work with their CV/resume.
  • Indication of any previous or current connections/collaborations with Facebook (in which case, please provide context and name the Facebook contacts). Successful awardees will be listed on the Facebook Research website and will be encouraged to openly publish any findings/insights from their work.
  • Awardees will be invited to attend workshops in their region to meet with Facebook researchers and other experts. Please budget INR 50,000 for two domestic trips.


  • Payment will be made to the proposer’s host institution as an unrestricted gift. With this, overhead is typically limited to 5-8%.


  • Organizations must be a nonprofit or non-governmental organization with recognized legal status in their respective country (equal to 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code) and should comply with the applicable laws to receive foreign funds in their respective country.
  • Applicants must be the Principal Investigator on any resulting award.
  • Applicants may submit one proposal per solicitation.

Terms & Conditions

  • By submitting a proposal, you are authorizing Facebook to evaluate the proposal for a potential award, and you agree to the terms herein.
  • You agree that Facebook will not be required to treat any part of the proposal as confidential or protected by copyright.
  • You agree and acknowledge that personal data submitted with the proposal, including name, mailing address, phone number, and email address of you and other named researchers in the proposal may be collected, processed, stored and otherwise used by Facebook for the purposes of administering the website and evaluating the contents of the proposal.
  • You acknowledge that neither party is obligated to enter into any business transaction as a result of the proposal submission, Facebook is under no obligation to review or consider the proposal, and neither party acquires any intellectual property rights as a result of submitting the proposal.
  • Any feedback you provide to Facebook in the proposal regarding its products or services will not be treated as confidential or protected by copyright, and Facebook is free to use such feedback on an unrestricted basis with no compensation to you.