Through a series of Research Awards, the Digital Ecosystems Research Challenge aims to support research and innovative exploration into the impacts and uses of digital media during the 2019 Federal Election in Canada. This research can use any method(s), could involve tool development or licensing, and can focus on any relevant topic-area related to digital media and this election. Award recipients will join a collaborative effort to understand the digital ecosystem during this election. Recipients will receive access to digital and survey data which might otherwise be too difficult or costly to obtain for small research teams. Recipients will also receive funding to support research activities between July 2019 and February 2020.

There are four award categories: $10 000, $25 000, $50 000, and $100 000. The number of awards in each category will vary depending on applications received. We hope to make 2-3 awards in the $100 000 category with greater numbers of awards in the other categories.

All award categories include access to processed data which will be determined on a case by case basis. Available data sources include social media, online news, and web data detailing the media discourse in the lead up to and during the election as well as access to the results of an ongoing survey of voter behaviour and metered media consumption. Technical and research support to analyze these data will also be available. Applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to Prof. Taylor Owen ( to discuss their specific data needs in advance of submitting their application.

Academic researchers and civil society groups with an academic institution-based partner are encouraged to apply. Teams can consist of PhD students, Postdoctoral Fellows, Faculty Members, and other researchers from civil society groups. The PI listed on the first page of the application form must be based at an academic institution in order for us to transfer funds.

Award winners must contribute to the collaboration in the following ways:

  1. 1. Attend a mandatory virtual workshop on data strategy the week of July 22, 2019;

  2. Provide a short progress update (2-4 paragraphs) via email on September 30, 2019;

  3. Contribute to a public report which will summarize the findings across all projects. Each winning team will produce a written summary of initial findings and summary of activities (an outline will be provided in advance, approximately 2000 words) by January 15, 2020;

  4. Attend a two-day conference at the University of Ottawa on February 20-21, 2020. The cost for at least one team member to attend this conference (travel, accommodation, and meals) must be included in your budget.

It is also expected that all results of the projects developed should be made publicly available within a reasonable amount of time from the end date of the project.

We encourage researchers to combine this work with their existing projects or to supplement this digital data with other sources. It is the responsibility of award recipients ensure ethics approval at home institutions.

Acceptable budget lines can include: Direct research costs, costs to develop or licence research tools, salaries (RAs, external researchers), travel related to research and travel to Ottawa in February 2020 to participate in the post-election conference (mandatory for at least one team member but multiple team members are encouraged to attend), public dissemination of findings. We are unable to cover institutional overhead or provide release time for full time academic appointments. There will be a reporting requirement at the end of the project. A grant agreement between uOttawa and the host institute of the PI will be required for all meritorious projects, details to follow.

Please download the application form to apply. Applications will be accepted until July 15, 2019 and will be reviewed by an Adjudication Committee of academic researchers in the field. Winners will be announced July 19, 2019.