Type: Grant


Value: up to USD 50,000

Application Deadline: 16 December 2022


About the Award

The Research Fund provides support to individuals, groups, and organizations with research interests on or about Wikimedia projects. We encourage submissions from across research disciplines including but not limited to humanities, social sciences, computer science, education, and law. We aim to support applicants who have limited access to research funding and are proposing work that has potential for direct, positive impact on their local communities.

We prioritize supporting applicants who have limited access to research funding, are in regions of the world where the Wikimedia research community has less representation, and are proposing work that has potential for direct, positive impact on their local communities or the global Wikimedia communities.


What we fund

We welcome submissions that describe in-depth research proposals to improve and expand our understanding of the Wikimedia projects and their impact, introduce technical and socio-technical solutions that can enhance the technology in support of the Wikimedia projects, and advance the Wikimedia Movement towards the 2030 strategic direction. We will also consider funding proposals that focus on expanding and diversifying the community of researchers studying Wikimedia projects. For non-research related work, please see other sources of funding, including the Wikimedia Community Fund, the Wikimedia Alliances Fund and the forthcoming Wikimedia Technology Fund.


Eligibility criteria
  • Individuals, groups, and organizations may apply. Any individual is allowed three open grants at any one time. This includes Rapid Funds. Groups or organizations can have up to five open grants at any one time.
  • Requests must be over USD 2,000. Maximum request is USD 50,000.
  • Funding periods can be up to 12 months in length. Proposed work should start no sooner than June 1, 2023 and end no later than May 31, 2024.
  • Recipients must agree to the reporting requirements, be willing to sign a grant agreement, and provide the Wikimedia Foundation with information needed to process funding. You can read more about eligibility requirements here.
  • We expect all recipients of the Research Funds to adhere to the Friendly space policy and Wikimedia’s Universal Code of Conduct.
  • Applications and reports are accepted in English and Spanish.
  • Potential applicants should not submit a proposal if at least one of the following holds true:
    • At least one applicant has been an employee or contractor at  the Wikimedia Foundation in the last 24 months;
    • At least one applicant has had an advisee/advisor relationship with one or more of the Research Fund Committee Chairs or members of the Wikimedia Research team;
    • At least one of the applicants is a current or has been a former Formal Collaborator of the Research team at the Wikimedia Foundation in the last 24 months;
    • At least one applicant has co-authored a scientific publication with the Committee Chairs within the last 24 months.

For country eligibility, refer to the list of countries that have previously been funded.


Application process
Stage I
Applicants submit proposals in response to the call for Research Fund Proposals. All proposals will be publicly available to allow community members and Regional Fund Committees to provide feedback. The Research Fund Committee and reviewers will evaluate all proposals, taking into account this community input, and invite top applicants to submit full proposals to the next stage. The technical reviewers will evaluate all proposals. The applicants of the top proposals are invited to submit full proposals to the next stage.
Stage II
We will invite top applicants to submit a full budget and proposal, including responses to the reviewers’, community members’, and Regional Funds Committees’ comments. Invited applicants will receive detailed instructions for how to prepare and submit their proposals. These will also be publicly available.

Review process

We will use a single-blind review process in which the identities of the applicants are known, but the Research Fund Committee reviewers are anonymous. Technical reviewers will self-declare their expertise for each proposal and disclose any potential conflicts of interest to Technical Review chairs. The proposals will be discussed among the reviewers and the Technical Committee chairs. Each submission will receive a composite score and comprehensive reviews from the Technical Committee chairs. Each proposal will receive at least three technical reviews and can receive input from one or more of the seven Wikimedia Regional Funds Committees when requested as well as the relevant Wikimedia affiliates or user groups. Each proposal can also receive public input from the Wikimedia volunteer communities through a structured feedback process on Meta-Wiki. The final decision will be made by the Research Fund Committee chairs considering the recommendations from the Technical Review chairs as well as the feedback and input from the Regional Funds Committees and the broader Wikimedia communities.

The proposals will be discussed among the reviewers and the Committee chairs, considering the Regional Funds Committees’ and volunteer communities’ input. The final decision will be made by the Research Committee chairs.

Selection criteria

We will assess submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Research. The primary focus of the proposed work must be research or research community building. Note that proposals with primary focus on outreach, community building, technology development/deployment, institutional support, or other non-research activities are funded through other funds offered by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Relevance. The research must be on or about Wikimedia projects or of significant importance to the Wikimedia projects.
  • Impact. We aim to prioritize proposals that aim to enable the Wikimedia communities in making decisions or taking actions of significant impact as a result of the research conducted. We will give special consideration to proposals that directly address the Wikimedia 2030 Strategic Direction (including but not limited to the Movement Recommendations) as well as proposals that attempt to answer research questions in less commonly studied languages of Wikipedia.
  • Geography of the applicants and their corresponding institutions. Because we aim to increase the geographical diversity of researchers who contribute to the Wikimedia projects, we encourage submissions from Central and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia and will give these applications special consideration.
  • Community. We aim to fund work that helps the Wikimedia communities take the next step. We will prioritize proposals that support or work with Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. We encourage applicants to include one or more members of these communities in your team and consult Community Wishlists from 20192020, and 2021 for ideas of problems raised by these groups.
  • Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. We will review self-reported contributions by the applicants to gain a deeper understanding of applicants’ interests, skills and abilities.


Requests can be up to USD 50,000 and we intend to give a minimum of six grants during this funding cycle. Detailed budgets are not required as part of initial submissions but we request rough estimates in the following categories (if applicable) along with a brief explanation:

  • Salary or stipend
  • Benefits
  • Equipment
  • Software
  • Open access publishing costs
  • Institutional overhead (up to 15% of total budget requested)
  • Other (as specified)

Final grant amounts are up to the discretion of the Research Fund Committee, who may reach out to finalists to ask for a reduced budget and a proportionally reduced scope of work. Funds will be disbursed in one payment at the beginning of the funding period (June 2023).