Applications closed

Verdant Place request for information


Facebook Connectivity’s mission is to bring more people online to a faster internet. Together with hundreds of partners around the world, we’re exploring new ways to bring fast, reliable internet to those without it.

Verdant Place is a co-creation hub for breakthrough technologies, market solutions, and ecosystem partners, related to meeting sustainable development goals (SDGs) using green information and communications technologies (ICT). To launch Verdant Place, Facebook Connectivity is soliciting White Paper Proposals in the area of the relationships between connectivity and sustainability.

“Connectivity” refers to the global digital society enabled by information and communications technologies (ICT). “Sustainability” includes both the direct impacts of ICT and connectivity infrastructure, such as carbon emissions or end-of-life product recycling, as well as indirect impacts, such as sustainability consequences of increased and enhanced connectivity to individuals and communities. Other possible direct impacts include environmental factors such as toxicity, ozone depletion, and soil and atmospheric acidification. Indirect consequences further include social and economic impacts, such as those considered in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Inputs from this solicitation are expected to aid formulation of one or more programs (i.e. collections of projects contributing to common goals) addressing (a) approaches to leverage stakeholder desire to achieve sustainability goals to create demand for increased and enhanced connectivity and (b) the consequences of increased and enhanced connectivity to achieving sustainability goals. Selected proposers (see Evaluation Criteria) will be invited to attend a workshop at Facebook’s headquarters to develop and refine program concepts that could lead to future funded proposals and future program-specific Requests for Proposals.

Applications Are Currently CLosed

Application Timeline

Notifications (including invitations to the December 11–12 workshop) are expected to be sent by email to the selected applicants by October 31, 2019.

Launch Date

August 22, 2019


September 20, 2021

Winners Announced

October 31, 2019

Topics of Interest

Three focus areas are of primary interest and suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Sustainable connectivity infrastructure

  • Sustainable/renewable energy sources including solar and beyond to provide “green” power to core, backhaul, and edge equipment
  • Reduced power consumption in core, backhaul, and edge equipment

Consequences of connectivity to global sustainability

  • Per-capita CO2 emissions and other environmental impacts from increased connectivity
  • Impact of connectivity on UN SDGs

Sustainability as a driver for connectivity

  • SDGs as motivators for increased/enhanced urban, peri-urban, and rural connectivity
  • Models development for sustainability impacts and stakeholder engagements
  • Approaches to engage community stakeholders to achieve SDGs via enhanced connectivity

White papers proposing minimal and incremental advancement over state-of-the-practice will not be selected for further consideration.


White paper submissions

White paper submissions must clearly identify a relationship between connectivity and one or more sustainability impacts and should include discussion of how to leverage their relationship to achieve both sustainability goals and enhanced connectivity to individuals. Submissions should at a minimum describe the following:

  • A clear statement of the problem or opportunity relating connectivity and sustainability being addressed
  • A clear understanding of state-of-the-art and state-of-the-practice work in the area
  • An objective that either promotes a positive relationship between connectivity and sustainability, and/or mitigates a possible negative relationship
  • The impacts to sustainability and connectivity by achieving the stated objective, and metrics for those impacts
  • The proposed approach to achieve the stated objective and impacts, including go/no-go assessment points and assessment criteria
  • The relevant experience, skills, and interest in the proposed work by the submitting organization, any relevant Intellectual Property (IP) claimed by the proposer or submitting organization, or other dependencies in the proposal to other work

Where possible and relevant, the white paper should describe quantitative metrics that would track progress towards the objective and an assessment of the resulting connectivity and sustainability impacts. A white paper may optionally include a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) cost estimate and associated ROM schedule. These proposed costs and schedule will be considered as notional only, and not binding. Where possible, a provisional risk assessment should be included, along with any identified mitigations.

Any proprietary information included in the white paper shall be clearly and locally identified, but entire proposals labeled “proprietary” will not be evaluated.

Core technical discussion in the paper is expected to be 4–8 pages, with additional back-up material optional. White papers should be submitted in PDF format.

Evaluation criteria

White papers will be evaluated by Facebook Research Scientists and, where necessary, additional domain experts (under non-disclosure agreement to protect submissions) as to their ability to achieve high impact simultaneously in both connectivity and sustainability.

White papers will be evaluated per the following table:

Additional Information

Selected proposals will help formulate of one or more new programs within Facebook Connectivity for future funded work and targeted Requests for Proposal (RFP) calls through the following mechanisms.

Proposers of selected white papers will receive an invitation to participate in a December 11–12, 2019 workshop at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Invited participants will share their concepts in focused sessions with Facebook Connectivity personnel, other proposers, and potentially other external guests such as domain expert specialists. Collaborations between proposers resulting from these sessions are highly encouraged and do not need to include Facebook directly. Facebook will pay for reasonable travel and lodging expenses for invited participants.

Presenters at the workshop will also have the option to include their workshop presentation material, subject to Facebook publication review, in any public release of the workshop findings and conclusions, such as at and

Future Facebook Requests for Proposals will likely look to fund proposals in a phased manner, with phases typically in the 6 to 12-month range. Per-phase funding could range from approximately $50,000 for a small study up to approximately $1,000,000 for a project with direct impact to a population. Please note such awards are prospective and not being offered in this RFI.

Especially meritorious white paper proposals under this RFI may be selected for an immediate Request for Full Proposal to include additional requested information and a binding Statement of Work to be performed under contract, project schedule, and not-to-exceed cost including a Basis of Estimate.


  • Proposed work must comply with applicable U.S. and international laws, regulations and policies
  • White paper proposals from academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and other for-profit and non-profit organizations will all be considered for both the current program evaluation and future funded activities
  • Multiple white paper proposals may be submitted from an organization
  • Multiple white paper proposals may be submitted by an individual
  • You agree that Facebook will not be required to treat any part of the proposal not clearly and locally identified “proprietary” as confidential or protected by copyright. (Please note that this overrides the confidentiality item in our terms and conditions below.)

For more information about Verdant Place, visit our blog. For questions related to this RFI, please email

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who’s already signed up?

    Although this is a new effort, we have a number of pilot engagements underway. We will report the progress of these as a matter of course with the workshop.

  • Is there a cost?

    Facebook does not charge to participate in the Verdant Place initiative. Facebook is funding both infrastructure and tools development for Verdant Place, as well as some project-specific funding, but as a living lab we expect that collaborations and business endeavors both with and without Facebook participation will result from this effort.

  • Is there an IP agreement? Is this Open Science?

    The general terms and conditions of applying to this RFI are in the Terms & Conditions. This includes confidentiality. We encourage Open Science and Open Source proposals (or components thereof) and they will score higher than similar work proposed under IP restrictions. That said, we can accommodate other IP arrangements if ultimately the benefits to enhance connectivity and sustainability metrics can be shown. Understanding your perspective is an important part of this RFI stage.

  • Where do I apply?

    Please click the Apply button on this page. There is a form to fill out there. You will need to have your paper ready before submission. There is no need to send a notice of intention to submit. The closing deadline is firm and the submission form will no longer be available after closing.

  • How’s this different from TIP? And Open Compute Project?

    TIP (Telecom Infra Project) and OCP (Open Compute Project) are independent organizations that Facebook helped found, but they have a very different context. Please visit and for more information.

  • Is this Connectivity Lab?

    No. This is a new effort under Facebook Connectivity. Applied research, development, and deployment activities within Facebook Connectivity occur across a broad range of topics, including sustainability. Collaboration with academic and other research partners, telecommunications operators, and other for-profit and non-profit organizations continues to be a key modality for achieving greater and faster impact to deliver enhanced connectivity.

  • How does this relate to Facebook’s other efforts in green technology?

    Verdant Place is an additional activity. At Facebook, we believe sustainability is about more than operating responsibly. It’s an opportunity to support the communities we’re a part of and make a positive impact on the world. For example, in the context of Facebook’s operations, we’re working to minimize our energy, emissions, and water impact, protect workers and the environment in our supply chain, and partner with others to develop and share solutions for a more sustainable world beyond our operations. More information on our operations efforts can be found here:

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.