Deadline: 06-Aug-21

Applications are now open for the Vaccine Confidence Fund to advancing Health Online’s Vaccine Confidence Fund.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global devastation with the deaths of over 3 million people, disrupting economic and social prosperity with a disproportionate impact on underserved and marginalized communities globally. It has also significantly changed their daily lives in all aspects – from the way they live, work, and engage with key public information, including through the use of social media and online platforms. COVID-19 vaccines will play a critical role in returning their societies to some sense of pre-COVID normalcy and ultimately ending this pandemic. As vaccines become increasingly available in all countries, the public health priority will shift from addressing concerns around vaccine access and supply to better understanding the dynamics of vaccine demand, hesitancy, and confidence.

The Alliance for Advancing Health Online is comprised of members from the technology, health, global development, and academic sectors that have joined forces to advance public understanding of how social media can best be utilized to better understand and increase the health and resiliency of communities around the world.

The Alliance is excited to launch a request for proposals (RFP) for research supported by the Vaccine Confidence Fund (“the Fund”). Facebook and Merck & Co., Inc. are financially sponsoring the Fund. Other Alliance members will be serving on the Advisory Council.

Areas of Interest

The Fund is seeking proposals that address this primary research question:

  • How can social media be best utilized to better understand and increase vaccination confidence and uptake?
  • They highly encourage applicants – especially from interdisciplinary teams and cross-sectoral partnerships – to develop truly transformative proposals that address critical research gaps with creative solutions. They also invite applicants to develop their own ideas that align with the Fund’s primary research question and principles. Research proposals should include the following: a well-defined problem statement that articulates a key research gap and/or specifies a focus population (making it clear why this research is novel and how it will add to the current body of understanding); a proposed research methodology and approach (ideally using interdisciplinary methods); and a measurement framework that outlines clear measures and their intended plans for capturing data

Funding Information
The range of awards will vary based on the scope of the research, but award amounts will range between $100,000 and $250,000, with the expectation that some awards could exceed this ceiling.

Expectations of Grantees

  • Participate in kick-off call with Fund manager.
  • Submit a mid-term progress report and final report via a grant management platform. Reporting will be lightweight but meaningful and focus on reviewing anticipated versus actual outcomes, metrics, and milestones as submitted in the approved proposal.
  • Attend at least two virtual meetings and phone calls to provide status updates on research progress. Specific dates for reviews will be communicated at the time of award and based on the proposed research plan’s timeline.
  • Submit a plan of dissemination to share the results/findings.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Research that takes place in any country is eligible. The goal of the RFP is to ensure diversity of research globally – in both high-income and low-income countries.
  • The Alliance for Advancing Health Online is focused on advancing public understanding of how social media can best be utilized to better understand and increase the health and resiliency of communities around the world. The Alliance’s first activity is to launch the Vaccine Confidence Fund.
  • Alliance members currently include the Bay Area Global Health Alliance, the CDC Foundation, Facebook, the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada), Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Bank and the World Health Organization. Further discussions with other key relevant institutions are currently ongoing with the goal of expanding the Alliance membership.
  • Some representatives from the Alliance may also participate on the Advisory Council

Selection Criteria

  • Importance: Does the proposal contain a coherent and compelling problem statement?
  • Alignment: Do the proposal’s research question(s) and research methods align with the Fund’s primary research question?
  • Equity: Does the proposal aim to support focus communities, or address underlying drivers of disparities, especially in trying to achieve health equity?
  • Experience: Does the proposed research team have a proven track record of expertise in the proposed fields of study?


  • Feasibility: Are the proposed research methods technically and methodologically feasible given time and cost constraints? Do the proposed research methods adequately and appropriately consider privacy, i.e., do the methods design for user consent?
  • Novelty: Is the proposed line of inquiry novel and does it have the potential to fill an important knowledge gap?
  • Engagement: Does the proposed research incorporate engagement with the focus communities before, during, and after the research?
  • Urgency: Does the approach reflect the immediate circumstances of the community? Are there any risks that those circumstances may change in the immediate future?
  • Collaborative partnerships: Does the proposed research team reflect interdisciplinary areas of expertise? Does the proposed research team pursue partnerships across sectors/disciplines to generate bold and innovative solutions?
  • Applicability: Can the anticipated research results be used to shape and inform practical public health and technology interventions in the short-term? How can the results of this research be applied in communities beyond those studied?
  • Measurement
  • Impact: Does this proposal articulate clear measures and their pathway to immediate or potential impact (i.e., vaccine uptake)? If impact data is not available (due to the project timeline), are there interim results that can be tracked?

Budget: Does the proposal include a budget and clear justification for key budget items?

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