Facebook Research Awards for Innovation and Social Experiences in AR/VR

Facebook Research have recently launched two requests for proposals:

1. Responsible Innovation in Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR): ‘Consider Everyone’

Facebook is seeking proposals that focus on how user and non-user experiences differ across social groups and cultures. It is committed to driving innovation forward in AR/VR and has devised a set of principles for ‘Responsible Innovation’. This request for proposals targets the third principle ‘Consider Everyone’. Within the context of this principle, topics related to non-user and bystander experiences in public and private spaces, across a variety of cultural and socioeconomic circumstances, with particular attention to communities that could be disproportionately impacted by misuse, eg communities of colour, are of particular interest.

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

What are the unique implications for bystanders who are members of an impacted or vulnerable group?

How do expectations of privacy change across public, quasi-public and private spaces?

To what degree do cultural attitudes towards bystander privacy differ around the world, and how should that inform the way of thinking about privacy by design for AR/VR products?

How could AR/VR exacerbate or ameliorate tech-driven inequality and, more specifically, racial inequity?

A total of eight awards are available.

2. Social Experiences in VR Environments

This request for proposals is focused on exploring unique challenges, opportunities and other considerations in the emerging space of social VR, with the hope of fostering open, welcoming and safer virtual worlds.

Previous 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 etc. Currently, 3D social platforms, taking place in VR, are growing in number and scale. 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.

Within the ecosystem of social VR, Facebook is specifically interested in a set of topics relating to understanding user experience in 3D immersive social environments. Examples might include, but are not limited to, the following:

How does social VR contribute to social connection?

What lessons in social interaction, social psychology and experience have been learned from 2D social platforms that apply to 3D immersive environments?

How can user safety for teens in social VR environments be ensured?

Researchers are encouraged to propose additional topics relevant to the theme of social interactions and social user experiences in VR environments.

It is anticipated that five awards will be made.

For both research awards, applicants must be current full-time faculty at any accredited academic institution that awards research degrees to PhD students. Applicants must be the Principal Investigator on any resulting award. Researchers from diverse backgrounds and of diverse abilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Each award is worth up to $75,000.

Applications should be submitted by the deadline of 29 October 2020.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.