Support us

Our democracy is under assault by the deliberate manipulation of facts, the growth of conspiracy theories, mounting public distrust, and an increasing willingness to endorse autocratic beliefs and engage in political violence—often enabled and fueled by digital media and a rapidly-evolving data landscape.

Data & Democracy—a transformational collaboration between CEG and the University of Chicago's Data Science Institute—conducts cross-disciplinary research, convenes key stakeholders, and circulates and amplifies the findings needed to protect democracy in the digital age.

The initiative brings together computer scientists, statisticians and political scientists to better understand the digital threats facing democracy, investigating critical questions concerning the impact of misinformation on effective government, how online communication translates into offline political behavior, and the implications of the consolidation of online media platforms for free speech.

Call for Proposals: 2023-24 Research Grants

The Data & Democracy Initiative seeks proposals for second round of direct research funding for interdisciplinary projects

The Data Science Institute and the Center for Effective Government are pleased to announce a call for research proposals focused on the intersection of democracy, public policy, technology, and data science.

The goal of this program is to 1) encourage new collaborations between departments and units across the University of Chicago campus, 2) provide unique educational experiences for students, and 3) position our institution to be a world-renowned center of research on political participation and freedom of expression in the digital age. Projects supported by this call will be part of an ambitious three-year research initiative focused on freedom of expression and political participation in the digital age.

Projects may focus on broad and cross-cutting topics such as, but not limited to:

  • Online freedom of expression: How does the consolidation of online platforms impact free speech? What are the implications of online disinformation, censorship and information control strategies on offline actions like polarization, voting, and distrust in government and institutions?

  • Political participation & technology: Democracy and political participation has historically included some groups and marginalized others. What are data-driven strategies to better understand how democratic processes encourage or discourage political participation. Proposals with a particular focus on mitigating barriers for marginalized groups to participate in political processes are particularly encouraged.

  • Democratizing data: How do larger groups of people (civil rights groups, etc.) interact with government data, particularly without “deep data expertise.” How do we make data more accessible?


Research funding is available for early-stage projects as well as mature and continuing projects (up to $50,000).


  • Principal Investigator must have PI status at UChicago. Please find more information about UChicago PI eligibility and policies here.

  • Each application must have at least one PI from the University of Chicago and at least one co-PI from a different unit within the University of Chicago (e.g., departments, divisions, schools).

  • Applicants may submit more than one application, with the same or different collaborative teams, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

Application Requirements:

  • PI CV or biosketch

  • Abstract (250 words max): What is the problem you seek to address, what is your approach to address this topic and what specific outcomes will your project deliver?

  • Research Plan (2 pages max, excluding references): Please describe your research idea and why it is important, why this work requires collaboration, how this proposed work will be done and anticipated outcomes, research timeline & milestones, and the specific follow on funding opportunities you will target should the project generate expected data, analysis or results.

  • Budget and Budget Narrative (a budget template is available for download).

  • Optional Supplementary Materials: Applicants may upload supplementary materials, such as references, diagrams, images. The supplementary materials should not be used to circumvent the page limitations.

Interested applicants can learn more and apply online here. Applications are due by May 10, 2023, with notification in late May for projects beginning July 1 or later.

Inaugural Research Grants Awarded

We are pleased to announce an inaugural round of research funding, seeding four new interdisciplinary collaborations addressing questions on political participation and freedom of expression in the digital age. These projects bring together experts in policy, politics, law, computer science and data science to create new approaches for analyzing social media content moderation, neurological signals of political bias, the relationship between political polarization and dysfunction, and the effect of messaging on online information consumption and behavior. Find more information on these projects below.

Get Involved

We're building a community of scholars, students, and experts at the intersection of democracy and data science. To learn more about Data & Democracy or to get involved in our work, reach out to us at

Email us