Call for proposals: Global Fellowship Programme on AI & Market Power

The European AI & Society Fund is pleased to invite applications for a new fellowship programme on Artificial Intelligence and market power. Fellows can apply for up to $70,000 and the deadline for applications is 8 July 2024. 

Since the release of ChatGPT in late 2022, there has been a global push to invest in and build AI on an increasingly large scale. Tech giants are racing to roll out new applications at ever greater speed and AI hype has created an investment gold rush, concentrating capital and power among a few corporate actors. Thanks to these firms’ first mover advantage, they are poised to occupy an even more powerful role in the digital infrastructure of the future. In order to shape AI to better serve people and society, it’s important to more deeply understand the market power dynamics in the current AI ecosystem and create a strong evidence base to design interventions in the public interest.  

 This Fellowship Programme will provide a total of $500,000 to support investigative research and critical analysis into the political economy of large-scale AI systems and aims to sharpen our collective understanding of market concentration in the AI ecosystem. 

 

Fellows will carry out investigative research and critical analysis on one or more of the following topics:   
  1. The nature of the partnerships between firms developing large-scale AI and infrastructure actors. 
  2. The business models of large-scale AI systems providers. 
  3. The impacts of concentration and abuse of market power by incumbent firms on third-party application developers and business deployers. 
  4. The avenues for challenging market power. 

 

The European AI & Society Fund will create opportunities for fellows to collaborate and learn from one another and the wider AI and society ecosystem, as well as support the dissemination of their outcomes. The fellowships will be administered by the Institute of International Education and are supported by the Open Society Foundations.  

The ambition is for the fellows’ investigations and research to create a body of knowledge for the field that will inform the work of civil society, regulators, competition authorities, legislators, start-ups and other businesses as they contend with market power dynamics in the complex ecosystem of large-scale AI.  

While this call for applications is issued by the European AI & Society Fund, we recognise that the nature of both the industry and the policy responses is global and invite proposals from all geographies. 

We seek to award fellowships to applicants with a broad diversity of skills, expertise and backgrounds. Applications will be reviewed by the European AI & Society Fund team as well as an expert panel comprising: 

Vera Franz, independent tech justice expert 


Andrew Strait, Ada Lovelace Institute 


Erin Simpson, Ford Foundation 


Udbhav Tiwari, Mozilla 


Philip Marsden, Bank of England 


 

Key information 

 Please read the Call for Proposals for full information.

Eligibility  

The Fellowship Programme welcomes applications from all countries and regions, with the exception of those subject to US sanctions (Under the IIE guidelines, fellowships cannot be granted to applications from areas subject to US sanctions as identified by the Office for Foreign Assets Control). We seek to award fellowships to applicants with a broad diversity of skills, expertise and backgrounds. We particularly encourage applications from people with journalistic experience, with strong investigative skills including OSINT, as well as fluency in market and technical research. The Programme will award fellowships to individual investigators/researchers or interdisciplinary teams of up to 3 investigators/researchers with complementary skills. The individuals can be hosted by an institution or be independent actors. 

 

Available funding 

The total budget for the fellowships is $500,000. Grant awards will be up to a maximum of $70,000. In exceptional circumstances, we will consider larger amounts.  

 

Timeline 

Applications must be received by 8 July 2024 23:59 CET. All applicants will be informed of the outcomes of the selection process no later than 16 September 2024. Fellows are expected to begin their work no later than 7 December 2024.  

 

How to apply? 

Please send the application form, attaching your CV or resume to fellowships@europeanaifund.org by 8 July 2024 23:59 CET.

Your personal information will be processed in line with the Privacy Policy of the Network of European Foundations, the host of the European AI & Society Fund.

 

“Ask Us Anything” sessions

These sessions provide a space for prospective applicants to ask clarifying questions about the call for applications. Our team will elaborate on the theme and the four key areas of the Fellowship.

Important Note: This is not a pitching session, and we will not be providing feedback on individual proposal ideas. Please respect this guideline.

You can now sign up for one of the two sessions:

  • Thursday, 13 June 2pm CET. Register here
  • Wednesday, 19 June 5pm CET. Register here

Documents 


Call for Proposals


Application Form


 

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Applications should be submitted by individuals. You can be hosted by an organisation, but it is not a requirement, and all applications should be submitted in the name of the individual or individuals, not the organisation. If you are applying as a team, all team members should be named in a single application form, and a resume for each individual should be attached.

In most cases, yes. If a person is not based in the country where the sanctions are imposed, and they have a bank account in their new location, the restriction wouldn’t apply. Please contact our team to clarify your individual situation. We are working with the Institute of International Education and subject to their guidelines which prohibit granting fellowships in areas subject to US sanctions as identified by the Office for Foreign Assets Control.

You may only submit one application. In case of more than one application being submitted by an individual, the expert panel will read and evaluate only one application and disregard other applications submitted by the same applicant.

We're looking for sharp analytical research and methodology which is based on analysing primary evidence. We expect that your work will contribute to developing a deeper understanding of the market power dynamics in the current AI ecosystem and help create a strong evidence base to design interventions in the public interest.

The intention of this programme is very practical – to address the concentration of power over AI infrastructure in the hands of a few corporations. We expect that your research questions are also practical and not solely theoretical. You should also be able to demonstrate that you have the skills and expertise to realistically carry out the research you propose and a clear plan for how you plan to communicate and disseminate your findings to your intended audiences.

We have defined four areas of interest under this Fellowship and your research should address one or more of these topics:

  1. The nature of the partnerships between firms developing large-scale AI and infrastructure actors.
  2. The business models of large-scale AI systems providers.
  3. The impacts of concentration and abuse of market power by incumbent firms on third-party application developers and business deployers.
  4. The avenues for challenging market power.

We used the phrase “Administrative Expenses” (rather than using the term “salary”) for cases where a fellow may want to bring on additional help (research assistant, transcriber, someone to help with interviews, etc.).

We would discourage applicants from applying a flat rate; rather, the line item should correspond to a charge for a specific cost.

There is no limit to the administrative expenses, but we would expect the bulk of the budget to be for research stipends and materials.

Teaching buyout (replacing the potential fellow at their university during the fellowship) can be included in the proposal as a stipend.

The grant will require a narrative report that includes information about how the funds were spent.

In the case of a consortium, a lead applicant will receive the funds and will manage the budget and reporting. We suggest that you indicate who is a lead applicant when applying, in case of a consortium.

Did not find an answer to your question? Email the team on fellowships@europeanaifund.org in case of questions. 

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