Facebook announced on Monday the launch of a new grant program, inviting university researchers, nonprofits and NGOs to submit research proposals for improving online security.
The initiative, named “Secure the Internet Grants,” will award funding of up to $100,000 for innovative technologies aimed to combat phishing, detect and report abuse, improve security in emerging markets, among other focus areas.
Alex Stamos, Facebook CSO, first announced the company’s efforts to boost internet security at the Black Hat USA conference last year.
Stamos said the tech giant was prepared to offer $1 million in funding for defense research, including contributing $500,000 to a bipartisan initiative to defend US elections from cyber-attacks.
The program encourages applicants to submit a two-page proposal detailing the practical impact their research will apply to end user, and how the grant funding will be used.
“Our goal is to spur development of technology that may be applied in practice, rather than pure research, in a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: abuse detection and reporting, anti-phishing, post-password authentication, privacy preserving technologies, security for users in emerging markets, and user safety,” said Facebook.
Facebook is accepting proposals until March 30, 2018, and will notify recipients in May. Winners will be announced at this year’s Black Hat USA conference in August.
The social network has also made significant investments to secure its own platform. In 2017, Facebook paid out nearly $900,000 to security researchers in bug bounties, bringing the total pay-out to more than $6.3 million since the program started in 2011.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, recently said that although the Facebook community and business continues to grow, protecting its users is more important:
“We’re serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. We’re investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits,” said Zuckerburg.
To learn more about Secure the Internet Grants and to submit a proposal, click here.