Deadline: October 15, 2022

Seed grants for research that analyses how foreign government influence subverts democracies in 21 African countries in Africa.

The fellowships have been established because detailed evidence and/or actionable insights about how disinformation techniques or networks are being deployed is scarce in Africa. This hampers traditional civil society watchdogs or investigative media from proactively exposing and debunking campaigns. ADDO Fellows’ research is therefore intended to help African media and CSOs better understand hybrid warfare and information disorder in their country/region.

Proposals that aim to publish actionable data or insights for media/CSOs to build on will be prioritised, including research that helps identify disinformation narratives with credible data-driven evidence, or that spotlights the actors and other forces responsible for creating and spreading disinformation.

Research formats:

Grant recipients will be required to publish their finding in easily accessible formats. ADDO is therefore most interested in research proposals that aim to produce:

  1. Series of short reports (500w–1,000w) modelled on journalistic analysis (see examples elsewhere on the ADDO website).
  2. Infographic explainers that unpack complex issues for lay audiences.
  3. Datasets containing actionable information or lexicons or watchlists for researchers, media or CSOs to use for their own analysis.
  4. Presentations designed to showcase research at conferences or to peer groups.
  5. Academically-focussed preprint or peer reviewed papers for public feedback and citation.

Where will my research be published?

Fellows’ research output will be published with their home institutions, as well as on the ADDO website. ADDO will also collaborate with research partners to identify and publish in relevant high-impact, mass-audience media or industry journals. Research can also be published as pre-print papers.

Depending on the research output, and the report format, the fellows may present their findings at public events or on broadcast media (as guest speakers) rather than in print media. As a principle, ADDO will strive for syndication or multiple publications, to maximise impact.

Who can apply?

Individual researchers, multidisciplinary teams, or research organisations that work in African countries, or that are affiliated with African-based partners can apply. This includes post-doc or other senior researchers, early-career researchers who have substantive published work, investigative journalists/analysts, or OSINT researchers who are affiliated with an institution (supported by a letter confirming oversight) with domain expertise on disinformation or other information disorder issues.

All applications will be evaluated by an ADDO review committee.

Evaluation criteria

This call-for-proposals is intended to be a fast-track and lightweight support mechanism for researchers. Proposals that focus on generating rapid and/or iterative outputs will be prioritised for this initial call (future calls will accommodate more complex or longer research projects). Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. 25 points: The strength of the research topic and supporting evidence. Does it address issues of substantive national/regional interest in the target countries; does it offer fresh insights/evidence that will aid civic watchdogs; is the evidence accessible and compelling?
  2. 25 points: The capacity/expertise of the researcher/team. Does the researcher have demonstrable technical expertise or domain knowledge; is the researcher affiliated with an institution with a track-record for substantive evidence-based analysis; is there clear commitment to global best-practices for research ethics/data management?
  3. 20 points: The feasibility of the proposal. Is the research topic and methodology feasible within the proposed project timelines, budget, methodology and research capacity?
  4. 15 points: The envisioned format for the research outputs. Will the proposed format/s be widely accessible for civic watchdogs such as the media and CSOs and other researchers; will it include infographic/visual explanations; will the research package include data or other evidence for watchdogs to analyse; will the research format be appropriate for some form of peer review?
  5. 15 points: Commitment to knowledge sharing. Does the researcher have a track-record for sharing technical insights on methodologies/technologies used in the analysis; is there a commitment to transforming the research and/or methodology into replicable resources; is there a commitment to open data, open knowledge standards?

The application process

The application process uses rolling deadlines, with proposals reviewed and shortlisted as they are submitted, with a final cut-off date of 15 October 2022.

The envisioned roadmap will be:

  1. Submit your elevator pitch using this simple form.
  2. Submit a more detailed proposal if invited.
  3. Commence the research fellowship, with technical support from ADDO’s forensic analysis and machine learning teams.
  4. Present initial/iterative research insights/findings at ADDO seminars and other industry events.
  5. Publish final research report on a publicly accessible platform, and present the results at appropriate public fora.

Applications in Arabic, English or French are eligible. The research results any be published in any of the three languages, as well as local indigenous African languages if appropriate.

Click Here To Apply

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