CALL FOR PROJECT PROPOSALS – Learning Skills and Social Justice – Deadline: Friday 27th March, 2020

To guide this call we ran a focused workshop on the 7th February 2020 and our participants developed a set of core themes. Please note – you do not have to have attended the workshop to submit to this call. 

In this theme we ask – how do we support and empower all aspects of society to function in a world where almost every aspect of our lives results in data trails? 

  1. EdTech and learner surveillance: This theme speaks specifically to both the raft of educational technologies already employed to track learners and those technologies that might be employed to counter such systems. Questions over the tensions between data protection law and data-driven practice within educational and research institutions is of particular interest.Key stakeholders are not only learners, but also teachers, other educational professionals and those at the institutional level.  Core concepts related to this theme are control of personal data and control of the learning experience. This might include (a) how we deal with meaningful learner opt-out, (b) exploration and avoidance of inverse privacy harms, (c) access and inclusion, and (d) explorations of power structures.
  2. Democratisation of learner/user data: This theme places the learner at the centre of the data ecosystem and asks questions specific to the psychology underpinning systems design and the learning environment, the role of the learner in production of content and how such data ecosystems should be governed and regulated. Diversity and intersectionality were also raised as core, and often overlooked, aspects of the learner experience.

This might include (a) user-led creative design of novel data-driven learning experiences (b) conceptual and philosophical challenges to current approaches and ideologies (c) skills for life/work that combat ‘learned helplessness’ (d) meaningful/novel approaches to surfacing data structures in ways that reflect learner cognition and abilities, and (e) challenges to existing regulatory and governance structures.

  1. Power, data experiences and agency: This theme looks at the role of dialogue, deliberative action and creative practice in connecting learners/users with their data. The core focus here is on marginal groups and addressing disenfranchisement through direct means.This might include (a) exploration of distributive/collective models such as data trusts, (b) challenging/surfacing power structures/intentions of data-controllers, (c) development of engagement mechanisms to support data-citizens, (d) the role of artistic engagement developing the tenets of HDI (agency, legibility, negotiability), (e) the application of data rituals, fictions and futures.

How can the concept of Human Data Interaction help us improve or adapt the ways that people learn about data-driven systems’ functions, benefits and risks? This theme will look at the skills, education and training required to deal with a data-driven world, and especially, how they might interface with HDI’s tenets of Legibility, Agency and Negotiability?

Helpful links:

CALL DEADLINE – Friday 27th March, 23.59 hours.

Workshop: Human Data Interaction: The Future of Skills, Learning and Social Justice

Date: Friday, 7th February, 2020.

Time: 10:00 – 16:00

Venue: Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. 

Workshop theme: It has been said that privacy is dead and that citizens should simply accept that sharing their data is the latest phase of capitalism: If we have nothing to hide then we have nothing to fear.  We are tracked everyday  store-cards, travelcards, applications on our mobile phone, cookies on the internet.But shouldnt we have a choice? What about those in society who are already marginalized  what kinds of skills might they need to make informed decisions about sharing their data?

In this workshop we will ask – how do we support and empower all aspects of society to function in a world where almost every aspect of our lives results in data trails? This might include questions around literacy, power, access to resources, and responses to surveillance capitalism.

Why are we running this workshop? The Human Data Interaction (HDI) Network Plus is a 3-year programme of supported workshops and funding, structured along a series of core themes related to how people interact with data-driven systems and the implications of those interactions.

Each workshop we run shapes the projects we fund and lets participants develop their ideas together, stimulated by short talks, with lots of opportunity for networking.  Each project theme has associated funding of 1 x 50k, 1 x 10k and 3 x 2.5k. So far, we have successfully funded six projects on the themes of Intelligible AI and Beyond Smart Cities and we look forward to funding a further 21 projects under the banner of HDI!


The Future of Skills, learning and Social Justice is the sixth of a series of 9 workshops where we will ask participants to tell us what ideas need funding and to meet others with whom they might submit a proposal. If you already have a project idea, are already working in the area, or would simply like to join and inform this growing cross-sectoral network then come to the workshop!

Organisers: Maren Deepwell (Association of Learning Technologists), Patrick Lee (Dept. for Education), Brian Hills (Data Lab), Ewa Luger (University of Edinburgh)

To book a place: Please apply with:

  1. Name,
  2. Institution/company/organisation,
  3. A short statement of why you would like to attend this workshop,

To: hdi-network {at} Bursaries for travel are available and places are assigned on a first come basis.

Themes progressing: several funding calls active

We have been using Twitter to make announcements, primarily, but it seems good to have some notes on our activity here.

The AI Intelligibility & Public Trust theme was the first theme up and running, and has three projects operational.

The Beyond Smart Cities theme is in the process of setting up contracts for its three projects.

The Mental Health theme had its workshop, and its call for funding is open until Feb 14th, 2020.

The Human-Data Interaction in Art, Music & the Culture Industries theme also has had its agenda-setting workshop, and its call for funding is open until Jan 31st 2020.

The Skills, Education and Training theme plans to run its workshop in early February, with a funding call to follow ~6 weeks after.

The IoT, System Design and the Law theme will run its workshop on Feb 5th, and its funding call will close on March 16th.

The workshops for the AI and the Regulatory Environment in the UK and Auditing, Accounting and Ledgers themes are planned for the first quarter of the new year, as well as the workshop for the final and as-yet-unnamed theme that we are shaping up.

Call for Projects: Human-Data Interaction in Art, Music & the Culture Industries

We have just launched a new call for projects, after our workshop in Somerset House, London. Please visit the Call Page for more!  Deadline: Friday, 31st January, 2020. 

Scope of the call: In September, Atau Tanaka and Alan Munro from the HDI team teamed up with the Music Hackspace to run a cross-sectoral workshop to help us shape up this theme. Based on the outcomes of that workshop, we particularly welcome proposals that address HDI tenets of Legibility, Agency, and Negotiability in areas of musical composition, performance, and listening, art and generative art, and the cultural sector at large. Examples include:

  • Legibility in intelligent computer accompaniment of musical performance 
  • Agency in the use of style transfer to generate visual art
  • Negotiability and the importance to “talking back” to content recommendation engines 

 These issues are not exclusive – we will consider all projects that address issues core to AI  and machine learning in music and the arts. We encourage partnerships between artists and academics. For administrative purposes, an academic needs to submit the application.  All projects must also address one or more of the tenets of HDI (legibility, agency, negotiability). The application process is lightweight, and we particularly welcome applications from early career researchers. 

Beyond ‘Smart Cities’– Human Data Interaction and the Future of the City – DEADLINE EXTENSION to Fri 30th Aug

Call for Projects: Beyond ‘Smart Cities’– Human Data Interaction and the Future of the City

Proposal submission deadline: UPDATE – Friday, 30th August

We have been approached by a few different people/groups who have reported major difficulties working towards a proposal over the last month, as a lot of university academics and research admin have been on holiday leave.

We have decided that it is only fair to offer a blanket extension in light of this to Friday 30th August.

We feel that it will give everyone a chance to produce the best possible proposal. If you have managed to do a proposal in the original time, you will have the chance to improve it if it was rushed. For those of you who did not think that timeline would work given leave, maybe there is a chance that you can revisit a project and get something together when people are more available.

New projects funded!

Four new projects have been funded from the first call on the theme AI and Public Trust after our first workshop in Cambridge.

In the end, we could fund four projects.

  1. Rights of Childhood: Affective Computing and Data Protection. Prof A McStay, Bangor University, G. Rosner, IoT Privacy Forum
  2. Public trust and understanding of online content moderation, and its impacts on public discourse. Dr C. Happer, Dr T. Storer, Prof. A Hoskins, & A., Alkharashi, University of Glasgow.
  3. Public Trust in Data Driven Systems and AI Futures. Dr R. Steedman, University of Sheffield,  Dr. R. Jones, BBC R&D.
  4. Pivot Strategy: Making Ethics Intelligible and Negotiable.Dr. F. Ustek-Spilda and Dr. A. Powell, London School of Economics.

Call for proposals – AI Intelligibility and Public Trust

Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, 29th March

Please visit the Call page for full information. 

Detailed application instructions here. 

The call: This call represents the first of nine waves of funding from the EPSRC Network Plus in Human Data Interaction (HDI). Each call will be on a different theme, and these themes will frame and support a network of projects responding to the challenges of Human-Data Interaction. Over the next three years, these projects will join us to define a new research agenda for ethical data-driven systems. This call is focused on AI Intelligibility and Public Trust.

Why Human Data Interaction?  We are increasingly surrounded by intelligent systems.  These systems are driven by algorithms; sets of instructions, or rules, for a computer to follow.  These systems define much of our everyday experience, mostly without our oversight.  How do these systems reach their judgments? What data do they use? Why did they decide this thing and not something else? How can users change the outcome?  How should these systems present their decisions?  These questions, and others, are arising again and again. Helping people to understand how these systems work is a core concern for Human Data Interaction. 

Scope of the call: The HDI team ran a cross-sectoral workshop in December to help us shape up the theme. Based on the outcomes of that workshop, we particularly welcome proposals that address any of the following issues:

  1. Trusting Algorithmic Function; how can we ensure that the design of systems supports user understanding and trust? How might we represent /make usable concepts such a validity, probability, accuracy, correlation? 
  2. Tolerance of Bias; What bias is tolerable, when is it needed, and how to we expose/understand it?
  3. Active Data Subjects; How can systems empower data subjects, through design? How can users better understand their rights? How can recourse be built into data-intensive systems?  

These issues are not exclusive – we will consider all projects that address issues core to AI intelligibility and public trust. All projects must also address one or more of the tenets of HDI (legibility, agency, negotiability). The application process is lightweight, and we particularly welcome applications from early career researchers. 

Funding available: In this call we aim to fund one project at 50k, one at 10k and 3 at £2,500. Over the coming 18 months there will be eight further calls under different themes. Please visit the site or follow us on Twitter for updates. Please submit by the deadline – Friday, 29th March. 

Fast turnaround and simple application process: The application process will be less onerous than a traditional research council bid – this is ideal for early career researchers, novel cross disciplinary research, or new and cutting edge ideas.  See the website for example projects. 

Lead Organisation: To adhere to the conditions of funding, each project must be led by an academic institution. We are, however, seeking to fund projects that represent more than one sector and so we particularly welcome projects with non-academic partners.

Application forms

Application document – docx

Application document – pdf