The SSRC specifically encourage proposals that interrogate the role the public and private sectors may play in mitigating or exacerbating the health crisis, the effects of which are already unevenly distributed.
While new knowledge is urgently needed, in the conditions of the present moment many social research methodologies are either not possible or require adaptation in order to protect the health and safety of both researchers and research subjects. The Just Tech Rapid-Response Grants will thus support innovative research projects that deploy remote research methods to shed light on both the short- and potential long-term implications of public health interventions for a range of rights, liberties, and public goods. Subjects may include, but are not limited to:
Contact tracing and public health surveillance
Voting access and rights amid “lockdowns” and widespread social distancing
Disparities in the collection, representation, and use of health data
The digital divide in remote work and learning, education, and public health
Precarity of labor and work in the tech industry or gig economy
Remote organizing, campaigning, and social movements
The impact of predictive algorithms on the provision of social welfare and policing
These topics are illustrative. Applicants are welcome to propose others. Projects illuminating the experiences of historically marginalized people are especially encouraged, as are those that can constructively inform policy responses across communities and institutions.
The Just Tech program invites proposals for Rapid-Response Grants from researchers—based at both academic and nonacademic institutions—who hold a PhD in any social science discipline or related interdisciplinary field. Applications are welcome from any country around the world. In this regard, strong teams will not simply be interdisciplinary, but multi-method or cross-sector, joining, for example:
humanists and social scientists
social and natural scientists
qualitative and quantitative methodologists
academic researchers and practitioners
researchers from different parts of the world
Proposals will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary review committee based on their relevance to the topic, quality and intellectual merit, potential for innovation, the fit between their research question and research design, and feasibility under current constraints on research. Applicants should describe in some detail how they intend to address these constraints in the methods they propose, as well as the ethical dimensions of their research plans and methods. Applicants should specify their intended outputs for the project and the audience(s) for those outputs. Successful applicants will be expected to participate in an online workshop with other grantees and are required to contribute at least one brief essay to the SSRC’s digital forum Items: Insights from the Social Sciences.