The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced grants totaling $6 million to three think tanks in support of research on the future of U.S. technology policy.
Part of the foundation's recently announced $50 million commitment to study how technology is transforming U.S. society, the grants include $3 million to the Center for Democracy & Technology to study the future of free expression online, with a focus on how digital platforms should moderate content; $2 million to the Open Markets Institute – Center for Liberty and Journalism, which will examine how corporate concentration affects journalism and media and how to address the negative effects of such concentration; and $1 million to the R Street Institute to explore a consensus-based approach to the management of online content that balances the concerns of consumers with those of corporations.
Of the $50 million commitment announced by Knight in July, $39 million will support research at five new and six existing centers of study, while the remaining $5 million will be awarded through an open funding opportunity.
"We're in the middle of the largest debate of our time on how to enjoy the benefits of technology while mitigating the increasingly apparent costs," said Sam Gill, vice president for communities and impact at the Knight Foundation. "Yet so far the discussion is more heat than light. These organizations combine an unflinching willingness to have an opinion with a deep commitment to evidence."