Open Technology Fund Information Controls Fellowship 2017

February 7, 2017

Categories: Awards, News and Announcements, Opportunities

The Open Technology Fund’s Information Controls Fellowship (ICFP) is now accepting applications through its open call system, until the March 19, 2017 deadline.

Applicants are asked to propose a project relating to the work of their host organization, and explain how the network there will support their research. The Fellowship Program cultivates research, knowledge, and creative collaboration at different institutions and across disciplines on the topic of information controls. Specifically, the fellowship supports examination into how governments in regions or areas of OTF’s core focus (e.g., Africa, Asia, Middle East, and North Africa) are restricting the free flow of information, debilitating the open Internet, and are thereby threatening human rights and democracy.

Program Details

The program offers two tiers of fellowships, Senior and Seasonal. Senior fellowships are for six month or one year and are usually offered to postdoctoral, doctoral students or experienced researchers with demonstrated ability and expertise. Senior fellows are given a monthly stipend of USD 4,200 per month, as well as a travel stipend of USD 2,500 or USD 5,000 depending on the length.

The seasonal fellowship is for three months usually offered to students and/or junior practitioners. Seasonal fellows are awarded monthly stipends of USD 2,500.

Applications are open to people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines and can include students, and junior to mid-career practitioners. While individuals with diverse and unlikely backgrounds are encouraged to apply, likely candidates have experience as computer scientists, engineers, information security researchers, software developers, social scientists (e.g., comparative politics; international security), lawyers and law students, data visualization designers, and others.

ICFP at the Citizen Lab

The Citizen Lab welcomes proposals from fellowship candidates for research projects related to our current thematic focus areas described below:

Documenting Threats to Freedom of Expression Online

This area includes developing new tools and methods for network measurement, analyzing Internet filtering systems, and correlating network interference with political events (e.g., elections, protests, conflicts, etc).

Targeted Threats Against Civil Society

This area focuses on investigating politically motivated targeted malware campaigns against civil society groups. Specifically, reverse engineering malware, mapping attack infrastructure, tracking malware development, and linking contextual information to technical data.

Privacy and security of mobile apps and social media

Projects include uncovering censorship and surveillance in popular apps and social media platforms (e.g, chat apps, microblogs, etc), and evaluating the privacy and security of popular consumer apps (e.g., browsers, fitness trackers, etc). We are particularly interested in widely used apps and platforms that are understudied by security researchers. The goal of this work is to help users make more informed decision about the technologies they use.

Corporate and public transparency

Projects in this area include developing software platforms for empowering citizens to exercise their rights to data protection and access requests, and analyzing the systems and policies practices of telecommunication and Internet companies.

Apart from these research areas we encourage applicants to propose projects that are within the following two broad areas (or combinations of the two):

  • Legal and Policy Research: Evaluation of laws, policies, and norms related to Internet censorship and surveillance
  • Technical Research: Empirically document technologies and technical practices affecting openness, privacy, and security. This area can include: research and development of software tools, analysis of systems for Internet censorship and surveillance, and data analytics and visualization.


Read descriptions of what first, second, and third round fellows at Citizen Lab (as well as other host organizations) have accomplished.

More information on application materials and the Fellowships is available on the Open Technology Fund website.

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