Minderoo-Oxford Challenge Fund in AI Governance - Funding Call

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Minderoo-Oxford Challenge Fund in AI Governance - Funding Call

The current deadline is Friday 5th February 2021 (midday). 

Note for applicants: Please note, your application will need approval by your Faculty/Department before it is submitted finally. The deadline for Departmental/Faculty will be typically be around a week before our deadline. Please check approval deadline with your departmental administrator and factor in this additional time when submitting your application, ahead of the deadline listed above. For questions, please contact Holly Knights: holly.knights@humanities.ox.ac.uk


Details of future deadlines are:

Friday 14th May 2021 (midday)

Further deadlines will be announced in due course.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon (UK Time) on the date given. Only complete applications that are received by the deadline will be reviewed.



Minderoo-Oxford Challenge Fund in AI Governance

The Minderoo-Oxford Challenge Fund in AI Governance aims to dramatically expand the notion of artificial intelligence ethics to fully embrace seismic challenges that contemporary digital technologies pose to labour, institutions, and public scrutiny, by stimulating new investigative research and public education and engagement projects drawn from many different fields: history, art, performance, linguistics, governance, community projects and more.

Funding Available – there are grants available in three categories:


  • Micro: Up to £500 (Project duration up to 6 months in length, particularly focused on students)
  • Small:  Up to £3,000 (Project duration up to 12 months in length)
  • Medium: Up to £10,000 (Project duration up to 24 months in length)


Grants are available to applications that fit in the following three major thematic areas:

  • Tackle lawlessness: Addressing impunity and exceptionalism within the technology ecosystem by creating robust governance and public institutions to match the social and economic power of the tech sector. Includes, but is not limited to, modelling processes for galvanising public consultation and community decision-making on technology futures, and imagining legal and policy strategies to challenge the harms of tech dominance.   
  • Empower workers: Examining tech both as a workplace and in the workplace, and protecting and promoting the value of human labour and meaningful and dignified work. Includes, but is not limited to, interrogating the dangerous, precarious, and invisible work sustaining much of the tech supply chain, and probing the efficiency and inevitability narratives driving workplace automation.
  • Reimagine tech: Building narratives for collective agency through the arts, journalism, and creative work, to shift the typical application of technology as a surveillant and controlling force, to an emancipating set of options. Includes, but is not limited to, reckoning with the many ways technology has replaced and replicated colonial practices, and building new cultures of resistance that surpass the circularity of ‘fixing’ fundamentally oppressive technologies.   

Who can apply for funding?

This scheme is open to a wide range of individuals and/or teams. Applications can be led by University of Oxford researchers and/or students, or projects in collaboration with external partners. Undergraduates are welcome to apply and require a statement of support from their college organising tutor. Postgraduate students are welcome to apply and will require a statement of support from their Supervisor. Where external partners are involved in a project, a statement of support from the partner should be included in the application. Applicants are advised to consider how best to create a mutually beneficial project that leverages the skills and expertise of all parties in advance of making an application.

What activities/projects can be funded?

Grants may support a range of ideas and activities such as:


  • Supporting the participation of affected communities in tech policy processes
  • Experimental book clubs
  • Media and performance projects
  • Prototypes
  • Public engagement, participation and education projects
  • Performances of any kind (music, theatre, spoken word, comedy, dance etc.)
  • Installations, displays, and exhibitions
  • Panel events that bring new people to Oxford and reach global audiences
  • Community co-creation projects that lead to a public event(s).

How are applications reviewed?

Applications are reviewed by the committee, in accordance with the Humanities and University funding regulations and procedures. The group reviews applications against the four key areas given below:

  • Fit with the vision of the Minderoo-Oxford AI Governance Challenge Fund. Applications should clearly further one or all of the themes noted above. Applications should engage a clear theme, or research question, and should describe how the project fits within, extends, or disrupts the existing research landscape in Oxford Humanities or the University more broadly.
  • Proposed audiences and proposed benefits to those audiences. Activities should aim to reach new audiences/participants beyond the University and applications should include clear audience engagement strategies. Applicants should consider who specifically the proposed activity is for and how to reach and engage those specific audiences. A general public audience is too broad. Applications should highlight where new audiences/participants can be reached through the project and should detail the social, cultural, community, and academic benefits of projects for audiences, participants, external partners, and the University.
  • Lasting legacy, future opportunities, and strategic collaborations. Applicants are advised to describe the proposed output of any project as well as details of any possible future legacies and future/strategic opportunities for collaboration and development.
  • Deliverability and budgeting. Applications should include detailed and realistic timelines for activity. Any substantial risks to activity/timelines should be considered and mitigations supplied where possible. Budgets should be well considered and achievable within the University’s financial guidelines. Applications should note whether any other related internal/external funding exists and give details of the source and proposed use of that funding.

 How are applications submitted?

Applications are submitted via IRAMS.  Applications must be submitted by an individual with a University of Oxford Single Sign-On (SSO) account. Applicants without an SSO are advised to contact Holly Knights (holly.knights@humanities.ox.ac.uk) for assistance if required.

When are applicants notified of outcomes?
Notifications of awards will be given within 3 weeks of deadline closing.



About Minderoo Foundation

Minderoo Foundation is a modern philanthropic organisation. Proudly Australian, and one of Asia’s largest philanthropies, the Foundation takes on tough, persistent issues with the potential to drive massive change. Through its Frontier Technology Initiative, Minderoo Foundation supports projects tackling the current state of lawlessness in the technology ecosystem. One of the major vehicles for this endeavour is a global impact network of university-based initiatives for advancing education and research on the social implications of technology. Other nodes of the network include:

  • The Minderoo Centre for Tech and Democracy (University of Cambridge);
  • The Minderoo Tech & Policy Lab (University of Western Australia);
  • The Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power (University of California, Los Angeles); and
  • The Minderoo Initiative on Tech and Society (New York University).


Visit futuresays.org, the virtual landing page for the impact network, to learn more.    


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