The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) invites proposals from across the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, data sciences, and related fields for a dissertation research grant competition as part of the Data Fluencies Project. We seek to support projects that mobilize new knowledge and aim to foster more just and equitable futures. Possible topics of interest include: 

  • mis- and disinformation online
  • algorithms and social justice
  • information integrity
  • public-interest technology
  • digital culture
  • big data governance and accountability

We are particularly interested in supporting projects that center alternative epistemologies stemming from feminist, Indigenous, or Black theoretical perspectives. 

With generous support from the Mellon Foundation and in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Digital Democracies Institute, the Data Fluencies Project develops expansive and interdisciplinary approaches that combine the interpretative traditions of the arts and humanities with critical work in the social and data sciences to express, imagine, and create innovative engagements with (and resistances to) our data-filled world. 

Please visit our application portal to apply. Applications will be accepted up to the deadline of 11:59 p.m. (US EST) on March 15, 2023.

Five dissertation projects will be awarded for up to $15,000 per award. 


The Data Fluencies Dissertation Grants is open to PhD students who are actively enrolled in doctoral programs in the United States and Canada—regardless of citizenship. Applicants to the program should have completed all PhD coursework and reached “all-but-dissertation” (ABD) status by the beginning of the grant term. 

Applicants who are selected to receive the fellowship should indicate whether the project has already obtained approval from an institutional ethics committee (e.g., their university’s IRB) if the research involves the participation of human beings as study subjects, and they must provide a copy of the approval. However, institutional ethics review approval is not required at the time of application.


The application requires an application form and the following:

Research Proposal

In no more than five (5) single-space pages (not including selected bibliography), the project description must include:

  • Clear research questions. 
  • The main theoretical and/or empirical contributions of your research.
  • A description of the data and methods to be used in the project, and why they are appropriate.
  • A brief description of any related project work done to date (noting any preliminary analysis informing the proposed research).
  • Brief public dissemination plan. 


Provide a maximum 2-page curriculum vitae (CV). This abbreviated CV should identify your current and recent appointments, education, and most relevant scholarly activities that would inform reviewers about your capacity to accomplish the proposed activities, including related technical skills and research projects.

Selected Bibliography

Provide a selected bibliography relevant to the research. It should be a maximum of three (3) pages. You may use whichever standardized citation style (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago) you prefer. 


Please provide a one-page, itemized budget narrative. 

Eligible expenses include (but are not limited to):

  • salary support or stipend
  • project-related travel (applicants should estimate transportation, lodging, and per diem)
  • other associated research costs, including costs for data collection 
  • equipment (no more than 10% of the overall budget).

Note: Awards are made to individuals, but if routed through institutions after consultation with SSRC, institutions cannot request indirect cost recovery or overhead.

Research Schedule

Maximum one page timeline of activities. Research schedule (between six and 12 months).

Application Form

Applicants should be prepared to provide information in the Applicant Portal, including:

  • a brief, descriptive title and abstract written for a nonspecialist audience clearly explaining the project’s principal focus, questions, and expected results
  • statement of motivation
  • ethical and privacy considerations

To submit a proposal and view the required application form, please visit:


Proposals will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary and cross-regional review committee based on their relevance to the topic, quality, intellectual merit, potential for innovation, the fit between their research question and research design, and feasibility. 

Proposals should display a thorough knowledge of the major concepts, theories, and methods in the applicant’s discipline and in other related fields, and should provide a bibliography relevant to the research. 

Applicants should provide evidence of having attained an appropriate level of training to undertake the proposed research, including evidence of a degree of language fluency sufficient to complete the project.

Review Criteria:

  • Intellectual merit: the intellectual significance of the proposed project and its capacity to advance scholarship, scientific understanding, and/or public knowledge. The degree to which the project offers thoughtful and generalizable models or new pathways for studying relevant topics (e.g., discriminatory technology, information integrity, privacy and security, online mis- and disinformation) in ways that foster more just and equitable futures.
  • Feasibility: the appropriateness of the proposed activities, methods, planned activities, and budget to accomplish the stated aims of the proposed project.
  • Qualifications: the degree to which the applicant has the expertise, skills, and knowledge to accomplish the stated aims of the proposed project.
  • Ethics and Privacy: the commitment, and stated plan, to meet or exceed standards for the ethical use of data, including the protection of individuals and their privacy.


Grantees will be required to submit a final report at the end of the grant period, and a public-facing, short essay to be posted on MediaWell or Just Tech.


For questions, contact us by email: