Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) is pleased to invite university faculty to respond to this call for research proposals on exploring unique challenges, opportunities, and other considerations in the emerging space of social VR.
Augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) have the potential to change the way we work, learn, and connect with each other. However, many elements of the technology needed to build this future do not exist yet — and neither do many of the norms around their responsible development and use. At FRL, we are building the next computing platform centered around people and are committed to driving this innovation forward in a responsible, privacy-centric way. This is why we’ve crafted a set of principles for Responsible Innovation to guide our work at FRL and help ensure we build products that are designed with privacy, safety, and security at the forefront.
Facebook is soliciting proposals to help accelerate research that targets our third Responsible Innovation Principle, “Consider Everyone” (see Areas of Interest).
Existing research has focused on how 2D social platforms identify the challenges posed to users when interacting online. These include gaming addiction, online harassment, cyberbullying, physical isolation, and more. Today, 3D social platforms, taking place in VR, are growing in number and scale. Given its nascency, however, there are significant research gaps in understanding user interaction and user safety in these social VR experiences, as well as how these experiences impact users, especially teens.
Recently launched in invite-only beta for users in the U.S. and Canada, Facebook Horizon is a social experience where users can explore, play, and create with others in VR. As FRL continues to develop its newest social VR platform, we are committed to building with this principle in mind and empowering users to become stewards of respectful product use. This means creating engaging virtual experiences that not only facilitate positive connections between users, but also ensure that our products are inclusive of our diverse community.
Facebook is therefore soliciting proposals to help accelerate research in social VR with the hope of fostering open, welcoming, and safer virtual worlds. There are fairly robust research fields in traditional 2D social platforms, and we hope to drive similar progress in the fields of 3D and virtual reality social interaction. We anticipate awarding a total of five awards of up to $75,000 USD each. Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university in the form of a grant awarded by a third-party donor-advised fund, per the Terms & Conditions set forth below.
We strongly encourage researchers from diverse backgrounds and of diverse abilities to apply.