Mechanism Design for Social Good request for proposals

by Noreen Balos, Funding Peer
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 10:45 AM

The widespread usage of mobile devices and social networks opens unique opportunities to design new mechanisms on top of those networks—mechanisms that lead to meaningful connections which otherwise would not have occurred.

Facebook has numerous products that try to make such positive connections. Some are part of its social good initiative: products that connect mentors to mentees, products that help people connect and support one another with resources and information during crises, products that allow nonprofits and individuals to create charitable giving fundraisers (with the option to match donations to incentivize participation), and blood donation tools that connect donors to those in need. 

Researchers can submit proposals for any domain in which a successful (privacy-protective) mechanism would have some broader positive impact on society. Some examples are below:

  • Mentorship. What mechanism for connecting mentors to mentees will result in the greatest overall experience to help form supportive, meaningful relationships?
  • Crisis Response. How should one design a mechanism to allow people to quickly and safely offer and receive help and support?
  • Job market matching. What communication protocol and matching mechanism results in a good matching of prospective employees to small businesses?
  • Blood donations. How can one identify possible donors, increase donor participation, and route donors to appropriate health centers to maximize the number of successful blood donations?
  • Charitable giving. What donation-matching mechanism will result in the highest total amount donated across charities? How much can outcomes be improved when the mechanism utilizes known information about social ties between people?
  • Compassion and civil discourse. What systems (consisting of connecting participants, followed by structured conversation) can one design that allow people with non-overlapping beliefs to engage with each other in productive conversation?
  • Partnerships and dating markets. How should one design a mechanism that elicits information from participants and matches them to prospective partners in a way that achieves a desirable outcome?

Three $50,000 USD gifts will be awarded. Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university as an unrestricted gift.

Mechanism Design for Social Good
Sept. 21, 2018 at 5pm P.S.T.