Call Infrastructure Priority Programme “New Data Spaces for the Social Sciences” (SPP 2431)
In December 2022, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Infrastructure Priority Programme (InfPP) “New Data Spaces for the Social Sciences” (SPP 2431) as a long-term funding scheme. The programme will initially run for six years (the first funding cycle). If it is successful, the programme committee will consider applying for an additional six years. The present call invites researchers to submit proposals for the first three years of the first funding cycle.
Our society faces a number of major social challenges in the coming decades. To expand and enrich our understanding of these challenges and the processes that underlie them, the social sciences need to go beyond the current data sources and methods and unlock emerging opportunities in new data spaces. Social science research needs to exploit the potential of new forms of data from administrative processes, data analytics and machine learning, digital communications and mobility, and other sources. It also needs new forms of data acquisition (such as virtual interviews, bots, and augmented reality), alongside the ongoing development and expansion of well-established longitudinal survey programmes. These new data forms and data linkages must be initiated, developed, and subjected to rigorous quality testing.
Aims and Scope of the Programme
The programme aims to drive a surge in innovation by improving, enhancing, and combining existing data infrastructures and emerging data sources to develop new data spaces for social science research. It will integrate and consolidate skills, knowledge, and expertise from different fields of empirical social research and computer science and provide the means to test new methods and procedures of data generation and data analytics. Its objective is to develop best-practice examples of data generation, data collection, and data integration to enhance data quality and to anchor innovations in existing panel studies and new data collection programmes and data analytic approaches. To achieve these objectives, the InfPP “New Data Spaces for the Social Sciences” invites project proposals in four main research areas: Exploration and Integration of Different Data Types (RA1), Respondent-Driven Designs (RA2), Instrument Validity (RA3), and Multimodal Data Acquisition (RA4).
One of the goals of the InfPP “New Data Spaces for the Social Sciences” is to expand the analytic potential of existing research data infrastructures. In line with this goal, Research Area 1 aims to enhance survey data through different means of data linkage. It brings together projects that analyse how to explore, curate, prepare, and integrate different types of data, including ethical and methodological questions of data usage and the linkage of data from different sources. Research Area 2 relates to the conception and design of studies. Projects in this area develop and test survey designs that are tailored to the needs of different respondent groups and tackle questions of sampling frames. Research Area 3 is targeted at projects dealing with questions of new construct measurement, data quality, and instrument validity, in particular with regard to AI methods and unstructured data. Research Area 4 is devoted to new means, methods, and modes of data acquisition that make use of machine learning or data analytics in general, or AI, text mining, and multimodal data mining in particular, or that utilize technical innovations in surveying and ambulatory assessments. InfPP’s projects will be supported and accompanied by a set of unique research infrastructure services and measures developed and provided by a newly established Research Infrastructure and Innovation Lab. This lab will offer outstanding opportunities for research on data collection, processing, and analytics, also using existing panel studies. InfPP’s goal is to innovate and initiate new data spaces for the social sciences and disseminate the results of the research projects into existing and emerging research and data provision programmes.
Researchers who are interested in submitting a project proposal within the first funding period are invited to a preparatory workshop hosted by the programme committee on 12 May 2023, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The workshop will take place at the DFG Head Office in Bonn, with the possibility to join online as well.
In this workshop, we will provide further information on the goals, backgrounds, and organisational structure of the InfPP. Presentations of project ideas will be an important element of this workshop. Additionally, bilateral in-depth talks will facilitate networking among potential applicants. Participation in this workshop is not a prerequisite but is highly recommended for the submission of project proposals.
Interested researchers are requested to submit a short outline of their project idea (one page maximum) by 17 April 2023 via e-mail to the coordinator (contact see below). It should encompass a first sketch of the project idea and an assignment to one of the four main research areas. These outlines will be made available to the members of the programme committee. Invitations to the workshop and further information will be sent out by the DFG in good time before the event.
Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 20 September 2023.
Please note that proposals can only be submitted through elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.
Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 13 September 2023 to submit a proposal under this call. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day.
In preparing your proposal, please review the Infrastructure Priority Programme’s website (see below) as well as the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from the DFG website or accessed through the elan portal.
Note that you will be asked to select the Priority Programme “SPP 2431” from the current list of calls during both the registration and the proposal process.
In addition to submitting the proposal through elan, applicants are kindly asked to send an electronic copy to the programme coordinator.
Proposals will be reviewed in Winter 2023/2024, the decision is expected in March 2024, and the envisaged start of the Infrastructure Priority Programme is June 2024.
The Infrastructure Priority Programme SPP 2431 was initiated by Cordula Artelt (LIfBi), Corinna Kleinert (LIfBi), Stefan Liebig (FU Berlin), Alexander Mehler (Goethe University Frankfurt) and Reinhard Pollak (GESIS). They all serve as members of the programme committee.
The elan system can be accessed at https://elan.dfg.de/en
The latest DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:
Questions with regard to scientific contents should be directed to the speaker and scientific coordinator of the Infrastructure Priority Programme or to the members of the programme committee: