Open Technology Fund (OTF) - The Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) 2018

Deadline
March 25, 2018

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Location (s):

  • United States of America
  • Worldwide

Overview

The Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) cultivates research, outputs, and creative collaboration on topics related to repressive internet censorship and surveillance. The application window is open until March 25, 2018.

Details

Setting the stage

The Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) supports examination into how governments in countries, regions, or areas of OTF’s core focus are restricting the free flow of information, cutting access to the open internet, and implementing censorship mechanisms, thereby threatening the ability of global citizens to exercise basic human rights and democracy; work focused on mitigation of such threats is also supported.

Where do fellows work?

ICFP fellows embed with a host organization for the duration of their fellowship.

When applying, applicants can specify any host organization of their choosing. Regardless of whether it is a previous or new host organization, justification needs to be provided in the application.

Please note that non-academic host organizations are welcome, as are those based outside the United States.

While fellows are ideally able to work locally within their host organization, applicants who wish to work remotely will also be considered with the expectation that a strategy for remote communication will be established. 

For entities interested in serving as a host organization, please email icfphost@opentechfund.org for more information.

Potential areas of focus

  • Development and refinement of tools and techniques to continuously monitor internet interference on a global scale
  • Investigation of information controls, security, and privacy in popular applications such as search engines, social media platforms, and instant messaging clients
  • Testing creative methods of censorship circumvention
  • Examination of the impact of internet censorship and use of circumvention tools
  • Experimental techniques to limit pro-government manipulation of online discussions
  • Analysis of targeted threats against civil society organizations, including internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and targeted malware
  • Other novel ideas and approaches relating to the study of global and regional information controls

Things to avoid

  • A focus on countries with minimal information controls
  • Working with a host organization you are already affiliated with
  • Testing of end user connections that violate established ethical principles
  • Projects better suited for the Digital Integrity Fellowship Program

When are requests for applications made?

The 2018 application window is open from February 5, 2018 until March 25, 2018. Please note that application must be submitted via the OTF website no later than 23:59 (11:59PM) GMT on March 25, 2018. The fellowship window is open once annually.

Opportunity is About:


Eligibility

Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Eligibility

  • Individuals of all ages irrespective of nationality, residency, creed, gender, or other factors, with the exception that OTF is not able to support applicants within countries that the United States has trade restrictions or export sanctions as determined by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
  • Individuals who demonstrate skill and ability to assist in efforts to overcome information controls.
  • Individuals who demonstrate a desire to grow their knowledge and skills through a collaborative, cross-discipline approach.
  • Individuals who demonstrate a commitment to reach audiences outside the research community.

Likely candidates

  • Typically, ICFP fellows have experience in fields such as computer science, engineering, information security research, software development, social sciences, law, and data visualization, among others.
  • Information controls is a cross-disciplinary field, so applications are open to people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines and can include students and junior to mid-career practitioners.
  • To get a better sense of the ICFP community, you can read about fellows from round one, round two, round three and round four.

Important considerations

  • Projects should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the mission of promoting freedoms of expression, assembly, and association online. Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable and achievable with activities and milestones listed monthly. The overall project goals should extend beyond traditional audiences.
  • For the duration of fellowships, the fellow will be expected to work full time with their host organization.
  • Before completing a submission, we strongly encourage you to review our Terms of Service.
  • Please pose any questions in this public spreadsheetand they will be answered in a prompt fashion. If your question is not appropriate for a public forum, please email icfp@opentechfund.org.

Review panel

All ICFP fellowship applications are reviewed by the OTF team; selected applications are also then reviewed by an independent Advisory Council review panel comprised of experts with deep knowledge and insight into topics related to information controls.


Dates:

Deadline: March 25, 2018


Cost/funding for participants:

Fellowship Information

  • Three, six, nine or twelve month fellowships available
  • Usually offered to postdoctoral, doctoral students, and experienced researchers with demonstrated ability and expertise
  • Monthly stipend of $4,200 USD
  • Travel stipend of $1,250 to $5,000 USD depending on the fellowship length
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