The Responsible Computing Challenge - supported by the Mellon Foundation, Omidyar Network, Schmidt Futures, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, USAID, Mozilla - fund academic teams that combine faculty and practitioners from Computing, Humanities, Library and Information Science, and Social Science fields in order to reimagine how the next generation of technologists will be educated. By reimagining and redesigning undergraduate curricula and pedagogy to be both intentionally interdisciplinary and inclusive of diverse perspectives, the goal is to support a new wave of technologists who will: 1) understand social and historical context, 2) think more critically about the design and use of technology, 3) deploy cultural sensitivity to recognize when and how technology work may perpetuate or deepen inequality, and 4) create visions for more equitable systems across the technology sector and in related fields to ultimately build more responsible and ethical tools, applications, platforms, policies, and social norms.
February 1st, 2023: Application open
February 8th, 2023: Informational Webinar
March 1st, 2023: Letter of Intent (Required) Due 11:59 PM PST
March 8th, 2023: Full Application Notification via Email
April 14th, 2023: Full Application Due 11:59 PM PST
Late May / Early June 2023: Provisional Award Notification - Apologies for the delay as we seek final approval (Subject to change)
The Responsible Computing Challenge believes that if designers, engineers, and technologists are trained at the outset with intersecting humanistic and computing perspectives that include marginalized and/or underrepresented voices, then they will create more ethical, responsible technology. However, we recognize that building these interdisciplinary collaborations requires resources and time. For these reasons, the Responsible Computing Challenge offers two award tracks:
- Track I (up to $100,000): Track I awards up to $100,000 to a single institution for one year to support the conceptualization, development, and piloting of approaches that integrate responsible computing into existing undergraduate courses in the Humanities, Library and Information Science, Social Sciences, Computer Science, or closely related disciplines. This might look like the integration of computing topics into an existing undergraduate humanities course in ways that address the social-justice implications of relevant tech, or the integration of humanities topics into existing computing courses to highlight the kinds of knowledge needed to make responsible computing choices. Prioritized projects will broaden the diversity of perspectives in technology and represent those groups disproportionately impacted by technological harms.
- Track II (up to $150,000): Track II awards up to $150,000 to partnerships across departments or institutions for one year to support the interdisciplinary conceptualization, development, and piloting of a scaled approach to integrating responsible computing into existing undergraduate courses across the Humanities, Library and Information Sciences, Social Sciences, and Computational fields. This might look, for instance, like computer science and gender and sexuality studies faculty coming together to revise multiple courses and/or allow cross-listing across departments for courses that integrate their approach to responsible computing.
Potential approaches could include syllabi changes (such as including ethical coding exercises and integrating relevant history readings) or teaching methodology adjustments (such as launching team-taught or linked courses, or, for example, drawing Computer Science course teaching assistants from a Digital Humanities center). Winners will be announced in Spring 2023. A second round of funding (up to $200,000) from Fall 2023 to Spring 2024 will be available for awardees to apply to spread and scale their approach.
The Responsible Computing Challenge is open to accredited institutions of higher education in the United States. The Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigators (PI/Co-PIs) listed on the award application must be eligible to receive and lead grants at their institution. PIs may work individually to execute the outlined concept, if funded, or with a collaborative, cross-disciplinary team with members that may come from both inside and outside of the institution of higher education. Such teams should include representatives from across departments, student researchers, industry partners and independent researchers.
Projects will be reviewed by a diverse external review committee of academics, tech industry leaders, department heads, and other experts in the field, who will use evaluation criteria developed jointly by Mozilla and other partners.
Awardees are selected based on quantitative scoring of their applications by the review committee and a qualitative discussion at a review committee meeting. Only those projects meeting the applicant eligibility and award requirements for these award tracks will be reviewed.
Selection criteria are designed to evaluate the merits of the proposed concept. For the Responsible Computing Challenge, the review criteria are as follows:
- Vision Alignment to RCC: Does the proposed concept align with RCC’s goals of educating a new wave of students who bring holistic thinking, diverse perspectives, and the pursuit of justice to the design of different technologies?
- Diverse Perspectives: How does the proposed concept address issues of equity within the practice of computing? How does the project meaningfully expand our understanding of who gets to design, prototype, or evaluate new computing technologies? What is innovative or novel about the proposed concept?
- Collaboration: Does the approach engage interdisciplinary collaborations? Does the concept reflect a broader set of themes that align with socially responsible computing?
- Feasibility: How feasible is the outlined concept? How likely is the project team to be successful in implementing this approach?
- Impact: How will this approach prepare students to understand how knowledge from the humanities and humanistic social sciences can contribute to building better, more trustworthy, and less harmful technologies?
- Movement Building: Does this applicant help to engage new and diverse perspectives and disciplines in the conversation about responsible computing? Is this approach likely to be scalable to other courses or universities?
- Working Openly: How will you document and share your concept with local and global audiences and community of practices? How might you engage students, professors from other disciplines, university administrators, non-profits, start-ups, government entities, or other organizations to help shape the design of your concept?