Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research & Technology Fund


The Wikimedia Research & Technology Fund includes two subprograms: Wikimedia Research Fund and Wikimedia Technology Fund. As part of the phased implementation for the new funding  strategy, The Wikimedia Research and Technology Fund accepted applications for the Research Fund until January 3, 2022. The Technology fund will be launched later in 2022. We will provide more details as we move closer to the launch. Please feel free to reach out on the talk page or research_fund(_AT_)wikimedia.org in the meantime to ask any specific questions.

Wikimedia Research FundEdit

Who we fundEdit

The Research Fund provides support to individuals, groups, and organizations with research interests on or about Wikimedia projects. We encourage submissions from across research disciplines including but not limited to humanities, social sciences, computer science, education, and law. We aim to support applicants who have limited access to research funding and are proposing work that has potential for direct, positive impact on their local communities.


What we fundEdit

We welcome submissions that describe in-depth research proposals to improve and expand our understanding of the Wikimedia projects and their impact, introduce technical and socio-technical solutions that can enhance the technology in support of the Wikimedia projects, and advance the Wikimedia Movement towards the 2030 strategic direction. For non-research related work, please see other sources of funding, including the Wikimedia Community Fund and Wikimedia Alliances Fund.

Eligibility criteriaEdit

  • Individuals, groups, and organizations may apply.
  • Requests must be over USD 2,000. Maximum request is USD 50,000.
  • Funding periods can be up to 12 months in length.
  • Recipients must agree to the reporting requirements, be willing to sign a grant agreement, and provide the Wikimedia Foundation with information needed to process funding.
  • We expect all recipients of the Research Funds to adhere to the Friendly space policy and Wikimedia’s Universal Code of Conduct.
  • Applications and reports are accepted in English and Spanish.
  • Potential applicants should not submit a proposal if at least one of the following holds true:
    • At least one applicant has been an employee or contractor at  the Wikimedia Foundation in the last 24 months;
    • At least one applicant has had an advisee/advisor relationship with one or more of the Research Fund Committee Chairs or members of the Wikimedia Research team;
    • At least one of the applicants is a current or has been a former Formal Collaborator of the Research team at the Wikimedia Foundation in the last 24 months;
    • At least one applicant has co-authored a scientific publication with the Committee Chairs within the last 24 months.

For country eligibility, refer to the list of countries that have previously been funded.

Application forms and guidesEdit

Please review our privacy statement prior to submitting your application. Applications need to be submitted on OpenReview, which is a third party platform. Access the application. Note that it can take up to 12 hours to activate your account, so please plan your submission timing accordingly. We ask that you take the time to complete a detailed user profile as this information will be used to match you with appropriate reviewers. You look at OpenReview support.

The application on OpenReview asks for the following information:

  • Applicant’s name, email address, and Wikimedia username (if applicable).
  • Full names, pronouns (optional), affiliations, countries of residence, and email addresses of all applicants.
  • Name of entity that would receive the funds.
  • Names/usernames, roles (with regards to this proposal), institutional affiliations, countries of residence (optional) for all other personnel included in the project, including volunteers and advisors.
  • Proposal title.
  • Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach (maximum 2500 characters).
  • Approximate amount requested in U.S. dollars.
  • Budget description (maximum 500 characters).
  • Impact and relevance of the work to Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and / or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities (maximum 750 characters).
  • Plans for dissemination (maximum 500 characters).
  • Prior contributions to related academic and / or research projects and / or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If none, then an explanation of planned contributions (maximum 750 characters).


How we fundEdit

Application processEdit

Stage I
All proposals will be publicly available to allow community members and Regional Fund Committees to provide feedback. The Research Fund Committee and reviewers will evaluate all proposals, taking into account this community input, and invite top applicants to submit full proposals to the next stage.
Stage II
We will invite top applicants to submit a full budget and proposal, including responses to the reviewers’, community members’, and Regional Funds Committees’ comments. Invited applicants will receive detailed instructions for how to prepare and submit their proposals.

Review processEdit

We will use a single-blind review process in which the identities of the applicants are known, but the Research Fund Committee reviewers are anonymous. Research Fund Committee members will self-declare their expertise for each proposal and disclose any potential conflicts of interest to Committee chairs. Each proposal will receive at least three reviews and can receive input from one or more of the seven Wikimedia Regional Funds Committees when requested. Each proposal can also receive input from the Wikimedia volunteer communities through a structured feedback process on Meta-Wiki. Each submission will receive a composite score and comprehensive reviews from the Committee chairs.

The proposals will be discussed among the reviewers and the Committee chairs, considering the Regional Funds Committees’ and volunteer communities’ input. The final decision will be made by the Research Committee chairs.

Selection criteriaEdit

We will assess submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance. The research must be on or about Wikimedia projects or of significant importance to the Wikimedia projects.
  • Impact. We aim to prioritize proposals that aim to enable the Wikimedia communities in making decisions or taking actions of significant impact as a result of the research conducted. We will give special consideration to proposals that directly address the Wikimedia 2030 Strategic Direction (including but not limited to the Movement Recommendations) as well as proposals that attempt to answer research questions in less commonly studied languages of Wikipedia.
  • Geography of the applicants and their corresponding institutions. Because we aim to increase the geographical diversity of researchers who contribute to the Wikimedia projects, we encourage submissions from Central and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia and will give these applications special consideration.
  • Community. We aim to fund work that helps the Wikimedia communities take the next step. We will prioritize proposals that support or work with Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. We encourage applicants to include one or more members of these communities in your team and consult Community Wishlists from 2019, 2020, and 2021 for ideas of problems raised by these groups.  
  • Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. We will review self-reported contributions by the applicants to gain a deeper understanding of applicants’ interests, skills and abilities.

BudgetsEdit

Requests can be up to USD 50,000 and we intend to give a minimum of six grants during this funding cycle. Detailed budgets are not required as part of initial submissions but we request rough estimates in the following categories (if applicable) along with a brief explanation:

  • Salary or stipend
  • Benefits
  • Equipment
  • Software
  • Open access publishing costs
  • Institutional overhead (up to 15% of total budget requested)
  • Other (as specified)

Final grant amounts are up to the discretion of the Research Fund Committee, who may reach out to finalists to ask for a reduced budget and a proportionally reduced scope of work. Funds will be disbursed in one payment at the beginning of the funding period (June 2022).

EthicsEdit

All proposals should follow principles of ethical research and rules and guidelines related to human subjects research. We encourage authors to read the Menlo Report for further information on ethical principles, the Allman/Paxson IMC ‘07 paper for guidance on ethical data sharing, and the Sandvig et al. ‘14 paper on the ethics of algorithm audits. Finalists  must address possible ethical challenges and how they will address them in their proposal. Institutional Review Board review (if applicable) needs to be completed before funds are distributed.

Research outputsEdit

To make the results of your research actionable and reusable by the Wikimedia volunteer communities, affiliates and Foundation, you must ensure that any output of your research complies with the WMF Open Access Policy. You’re encouraged to include open access publication costs as part of your budget.

Grantees are expected to create project pages on MetaWiki:Research documenting the progress of their work once a month. In addition, they are expected to complete final financial and project reports using provided templates, and present at a future Wikimedia Research event as well as at least at one event within their research community.

Research Fund Application cycleEdit

  1. Open call for applications, with office hours for interested applicants
  2. Review of Stage I proposals, including desk rejection of proposals that are out of scope, eligibility check, technical review, community review, and regional fund Committee review
  3. Invitation to finalists to submit to Stage II
  4. Technical review of Stage II proposals
  5. Final decision

Review SubmissionsEdit

Proposed Wikimedia Research Fund applications in FY 2021-22 (click to expand or collapse)

Office HoursEdit

Prospective applicants can also attend the regular monthly office hours held by the Research Team on December 7, 2021 at 23:00 UTC.

Important DatesEdit

  • 3 January 2022 — Stage I application submission deadline.
  • 4 April 2022 — Stage I selection result notifications.
  • 2 May 2022 — Stage II application submission deadline.
  • 23 May 2022 — Stage II selection result notifications.

Contact usEdit

Please direct questions to research_fund wikimedia.org.

Organizing CommitteeEdit

Grant committee chairsEdit

  • Benjamin Mako Hill (University of Washington)
  • Leila Zia (Wikimedia Foundation)

Workflow ChairEdit

  • Emily Lescak (Wikimedia Foundation)

FAQEdit

Will early career researchers or those new to Wikimedia research be supported?
Yes! Applicants will be evaluated based on their previous contributions to the Wikimedia and / or free culture communities. However, if applicants are new to these spaces, then they will be evaluated based on their potential contributions.
What is the role of the Regional Fund Committees in decision making?
Regional Funds Committee members will be invited to provide feedback on the short list of top-ranked proposals that are selected by the reviewers and Research Fund Committee co-chairs to advance to stage II. We particularly welcome their perspectives on the potential for the proposed work to impact their communities.
When will the Wikimedia Technology Fund be launched?
We are hoping to announce more details about the Technology Fund by June 2022.
What is the composition of the Research Fund committee and how were they chosen?
The Research Fund committee consists of two committee co-chairs who are in charge of developing the evaluation and review process as well as recruiting the reviewers. For this cycle of funds, the committee chairs are Leila Zia (Head of Research, Wikimedia Foundation) and Benjamin Mako Hill (Assistant Professor, University of Washington). Leila Zia is invited by the Community Resources team and Benjamin Mako Hill is invited by Leila.