Global Freedom of Expression


Call for Proposals: CYRILLA Applied Research and Advocacy Grants

CYRILLA Applied Research and Advocacy Grants


Grant Baker, CYRILLA Project Director (


The CYRILLA Collaborative will be awarding ​5 grants ​of $5,000 to organizations and individuals to pilot small-scale applied research, journalistic, or advocacy initiatives committed to expanding the knowledge on digital rights legislation and case law. The CYRILLA Collaborative is particularly interested in applications from individuals or organizations based in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Small grant–supported initiatives will last between 3-4 months and will be expected to apply the CYRILLA research methodology, data model, or database to a regional digital rights–related research or advocacy challenge.


The CYRILLA Collaborative is a global initiative that seeks to map and analyze the evolution and impacts of legal frameworks in digital environments by aggregating, organizing, and visualizing distributed legal data through open research methodologies, data models, taxonomies, and databases. The Collaborative’s keystone initiative,, is an open online database that facilitates and accelerates the sharing and comparison of legal information on digital rights. At its core, CYRILLA organizes and provides access to legislation and case law that affects human rights in digital environments; enabling researchers, activists, lawyers, and civil society representatives to assess legal trends and their impacts in digitally networked spaces.

The CYRILLA Collaborative is comprised of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology at Strathmore Law School (CIPIT), Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression Initiative, Derechos Digitales, HURIDOCS, and SMEX.


The CYRILLA Collaborative is interested in proposals that examine how legal frameworks have evolved to protect, regulate, and repress digital rights. Projects can take the form of research, advocacy, or the development of new data–driven technical outputs that utilize existing data on i.e visualizations for journalistic reporting or an advocacy campaign. We are especially interested in projects that tackle the disproportionate impacts of policies affecting digital rights on at-risk communities. Potential projects ideas include, but are not limited to:

  • Examining how the courts have applied recent or outdated legislation to impact digital rights (i.e freedom of expression, privacy etc.)
  • Delineating opaque legislative or judicial processes related to digital rights
  • Analyzing how legislation has impacted the introduction of digital identity programs, or how the introduction of digital identity programs has led to new legislation
  • Studying the digital rights implications of competition laws or other laws that have facilitated market concentration in the tech or telecommunications sector
  • Comparing digital rights case law across regional or national jurisdictions

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that projects which document the nature and impact of domestic coronavirus-related regulations on digital rights are topical and necessary. While we encourage you to apply if you have a strong idea around a Coronavirus-related topic, a project will not be viewed more favorably solely because it is linked to COVID-19.

Application Instructions

Please submit a ​3-4 page proposal and a ​line item budget via email by ​May 21, 2020​. Proposals must be sent to,, and with the subject line “CYRILLA Research Proposal.”

The proposal should include:

  • Background: Describe the problem that your project seeks to address, explaining why the issue is relevant right now. Briefly detail any previous research or advocacy efforts that have addressed this topic.
  • Organizational Description: Outline your organization’s mission and list any relevant projects that you have worked on in the past two years. Organizations should also provide short biographies of the staff members who would be working on the project. If you are applying as an individual, please write a short biography and attach a CV.
  • Outcome & Project Narrative: ​State the project’s desired outcome and explain how the project will accomplish that goal. Please mention any challenges or risks that you anticipate this project might face.
  • Project Timeline: ​Produce a detailed timeline, with dates, listing the project’s expected outputs and when they are expected to be completed.

SMEX will serve as the initial point of contact for shortlisted candidates. Once candidates have been selected, they may communicate directly with one of the other CYRILLA partners, depending on where the project is located.

Selection Criteria

The six organizations that comprise CYRILLA Collaborative will convene to evaluate proposals. Strong proposals will:

  • Clearly articulate the relevance of the project
  • List clear outcomes within the three-month timeframe
  • Directly interact with legislation and case law concerning digital rights
  • Demonstrate how the project will help build growing interest in digital rights law

The CYRILLA Collaborative will attempt to maintain regional balance (i.e one project from the Middle East and North Africa, one from Latin America etc.) in awarding the grants.