Applications closed

Facebook Request for Proposals for Research to Improve Ad Experiences


At Facebook, we are passionate about connecting people with the businesses they care most about. One of the ways that we do this is through the products we build. To foster further innovation in the digital advertising space and to deepen our collaboration with the academic community, Facebook is pleased to invite the academic community to respond to this call for research proposals on ad experiences. We are interested in supporting research to help us deepen our understanding of people’s ad experiences on Facebook and Instagram. A few examples of topics of interest for this RFP include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Ad targeting
    • What makes people feel comfortable or uncomfortable with certain ads?
    • What makes an ad bad or good with regard to content, context, and targeting?
  • User experience
    • How can we improve people’s experiences with ads?
    • How can we give people better control over the ads that they see?
    • How can we improve people’s understanding of how Facebook targets online ads?
  • Approaches to increase trust
    • How can new product and policy approaches increase trust?
    • How does transparency and control influence people’s trust?

Facebook will grant awards of up to $50K USD per awardee to fund projects of up to one year in duration. This RFP challenge is open to applicants from academic institutions worldwide. This includes individual researchers addressing a well-defined problem, or multiple university departments collaborating with a diverse set of skills to solve a more complex multi-disciplinary challenge. We encourage proposals of diverse perspectives from emerging scholars and researchers around the world studying these issues.

Award Recipients

Carnegie Mellon University

Lorrie Cranor

Georgia Institute of Technology

Sauvik Das

Clemson University

Bart Piet Knijnenburg

Applications Are Currently CLosed

Application Timeline

*Note: Technical reviews took longer than expected, so we have not yet notified submitters of their proposal status. We will send email notifications to all applicants as soon as we can.

Launch Date

July 30, 2019


September 11, 2019

Winners Announced

October 2019


Proposals should include

  • Summary of the project (1-2 pages): Include an explanation of the area of focus, a description of techniques, any relevant prior work, and a timeline with milestones and expected outcomes. Please also include a clear and concise statement of the scientific contribution and routes to eventual deployment. References are not included in the two-page limit, but please keep these concise.
  • A budget description (1 page): Include an approximate cost of the project and explanation of how funds would be spent. Please also include funds for travel for the PI to attend a workshop in Menlo Park to discuss findings with the Facebook team in late 2020.
  • Curriculum Vitae(s): Provide the names of the researcher(s) involved in the proposed work with their CV/resume or links to Google Scholar pages.
  • Organization details including tax information and administrative finance contact details
  • Keywords: Please select from the following keywords: advertising algorithms, algorithmic transparency, ad explanation, information flows, transparency, targeted advertising, privacy, personalization, ad performance


  • Organizations must be an accredited academic institution (PhD granting) with recognized legal status in their respective country (equal to 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code).
  • Applicants may submit one proposal per solicitation.
  • Funding will be disbursed to the institution of the Principal Investigator of any resulting award.
  • Awards must comply with applicable US and international laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Facebook will not provide access to any Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp data for awarded projects. Any data collected by research teams must comply with Facebook’s terms and policies and have approval from the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), if applicable. Please be aware that Facebook does not allow the automated scraping of public information from the platform.

Budget and Payment

  • Award amount can vary, but is typically up to $50,000.
  • Payment: The award will be made to the PI’s host university as an unrestricted gift. Overhead is limited to 5% for gifts. Overhead amounts should be built into proposed budgets.

Additional Information

Award recipients will be invited to visit Menlo Park, California to discuss their findings/insights with the Facebook team in 2020. Please budget travel for one PI to attend as a part of the proposed project budget.

We encourage the winners to openly publish any findings/insights from their work. Successful awardees will be also listed on the Facebook Research website.

For additional questions related to this RFP, please email

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.