HKU & Meta Announce Request for Proposals for AR/VR Policy Research in Asia Pacific Region

Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and Meta today jointly announced a request for proposals (RFP) for Meta AR/VR Policy Research in the Asia Pacific region. This research initiative invites the region’s academic community to develop solutions-focused research to support the responsible development of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. This includes identifying positive approaches to address policy issues and challenges, as well as opportunities in the metaverse and augmented and virtual reality, ultimately giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

With the metaverse becoming the next chapter of the internet, Meta’s vision is to have a billion people accessing the metaverse as part of their daily lives within ten years. That relies on people being in control of their experiences and feeling safe and secure. This RFP reaffirms Meta’s commitment to ensuring the responsible development and use of AR/VR technologies, and building strong collaborations with policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring the metaverse to life.

Professor Wai-Fung Lam, Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance, said, “Building on the success we have had with Meta on the research initiative on Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in 2020, we are pleased to work further with other academic communities in APAC to continue the intellectual dialogues concerning the multiple facets of AR and VR. The RFP forms part of the Tech for Good Initiative that aims to bring scholars and practitioners together to catch up with the latest development of technologies and explore how the interplay between emerging technologies and public policy works. The Centre is committed to the attainment of a sustainable society and advanced technologies will help address some of the most critical sustainability challenges we are facing today.”

“Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities and grow businesses. As we build shared spaces in the metaverse where people are free to express themselves and connect with others, we want to ensure the technologies that we use are safe and secure,” Raina Yeung, Head of Privacy and Data Policy, Engagement, APAC at Meta said. “The metaverse is not a single product one company can build alone, and many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10-15 years. Hence, to foster further innovation in this area, and to deepen collaboration with academia, we are honoured to partner with the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong, and welcome proposals that will provide insight into how to build these technologies responsibly, ultimately enabling communities to thrive in the metaverse.”

The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and Meta are pleased to invite faculty to respond to this call for research proposals pertaining to the following topics:

  • Economic opportunity: how we can give people more choice, encourage competition, and maintain a thriving digital economy
  • Privacy: how we can minimize the amount of data that’s used, build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses, and give people transparency and control over their data
  • Safety and integrity: how we can keep people safe online and give them tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with
  • Equity and inclusion: how we can make sure these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible
  • New Use Cases: what are new applications of immersive technology that create substantial value for people and communities

The research initiative targets to award a total of 6 awards, each in the US$100,000 range funded by the Meta XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year US$50 million investment in programmes and independent external research to help in the effort of building the metaverse responsibly. The submission deadline is July 25, 2022, and results will be announced on September 5, 2022.

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