Seed Funding





How do we build — and harness — technology that protects privacy, security, and democracy?


The CITRIS Policy Lab supports interdisciplinary technology policy research and engagement to better ensure development and deployment of technology in the interest of society. 


Reflecting its interdisciplinary approach, the CITRIS Policy Lab joins with partners from the public and private sectors to drive thoughtful policy research and engagement at local, state, national, and international levels. Activities address core questions regarding the role of formal and informal regulation in promoting innovation and amplifying its positive effects. 


The CITRIS Policy Lab invites proposals for research that addresses topical issues such as those listed below:


    1. Computational Propaganda: Algorithms, automation, and digital harassment campaigns are increasingly utilized to manipulate public opinion and attack vulnerable communities on social media. Proposals may seek to identify computational propaganda and digital harassment campaigns on social media and formulate counter-approaches to mitigate these tactics.
    2. Inclusive AI: While artificial intelligence holds great promise to address society’s most pressing challenges, ill-considered deployments can perpetuate inequality and discrimination. We seek to support interdisciplinary research into the development and deployment of AI-enabled technologies that are fair, accountable, and trustworthy.
    3. Digital Inclusion: Access to the internet at sufficient upload/download speeds is not evenly distributed. Proposals may support innovative strategies for equitable deployment and adoption of broadband and ICTs in the United States and abroad.
    4. Democratic Innovations: Effective digital tools support more inclusive democratic discourse, enable new models for participatory resource allocation and budgeting, and provide elected leaders with timely updates on the changing needs and priorities of their constituents. Proposals may seek to design and pilot interactive digital tools that foster greater inclusion in democratic processes.
    5. Disaster Risk Reduction: New ICTs — such as crowdsourcing platforms, high-performance computing and visualizations — can lead to more informed strategies for disaster risk reduction. Proposals may seek to utilize new ICTs to inform such strategies and policies in California and abroad.
    6. Digital ID Systems: Strategies to develop digital ID systems are emerging from the public, private, and non-profit sectors worldwide. We seek to support research into the human rights implications of digital ID systems and formation of strategies to better ensure their ethical design and deployment.
    7. Blockchain in Public Sector Applications: Distributed ledger technology is gaining attention beyond its early applications in cryptocurrency. We invite proposals that investigate or develop blockchain technology for social good.

Recent CITRIS Policy Lab Seed Funding Awardees

Bots and Misinformation on Facebook: Prevalence, Activity, and Effects
This project will offer a foundational overview of the prevalence and activities of bots on Facebook, model the role of bots in the spread of misinformation on public Facebook pages over time, and identify bot influence on the hostility of user discussions.

Principal Investigators: Magdalena Wojcieszak (UC Davis), Gireeja Ranade (UC Berkeley), & Felix Wu (UC Davis)

Cognition to Action in Extreme Events: Policy Interventions for Disaster Risk Reduction
Researchers will use rapid prototyping to explore how to make city-scale transportation models, visualizations, and communication strategies effective and responsive to community needs when constituents must make life-altering decisions.

Principal Investigators: Thomas Maiorana (UC Davis), Kenichi Soga (UC Berkeley), & Louise Comfort (UC Berkeley)