Center for Socially Responsible AI awards seed funding to 6 projects

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence recently announced the results of its third seed funding competition. The center awarded $145,000 to advance six interdisciplinary research projects that feature researchers from eight colleges and institutes. 

Each proposal was evaluated for its connection to the center’s mission, intellectual merit, and potential for securing external funding. Funding will support the formation of interdisciplinary research teams and early-stage projects that demonstrate strong potential to obtain external funding. Projects are expected to start this spring and last for up to two years. 

“This year’s funded projects include compelling ideas about using AI for social good, such as promoting the social welfare of vulnerable populations, as well as high-risk projects about the responsible and secure use and deployment of AI,” said S. Shyam Sundar, CSRAI director and James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. “We are grateful for the engaging submissions we received and are excited because each of these projects shows promise for transformational impact.” 

“AI-based Ventures, Fair Data Practice, and Government Interventions” 

  • Jue Wang, Smeal College of Business 
  • Daniel Mallinson, Penn State Harrisburg 
  • Eric Best, Penn State Harrisburg 
  • Pedro Robles, Penn State Lehigh Valley 
  • Lauren Azevedo, Penn State Harrisburg 

“An AI-Driven Tool for Case Assessment of Survivors of Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Among Children” 

  • Amulya Yadav, College of Information Sciences and Technology 
  • Samuel Schleipman, World Hope International 
  • Andy Gatto, Nittany AI Alliance 

“AI for Synthesizing Social Science Knowledge” 

  • Kevin Munger, College of the Liberal Arts 
  • Sarah Rajtmajer, College of Information Sciences and Technology 

“Predicting Number of Tenants At-Risk of Eviction in High Resolution using Social Media, E-Commerce Data, Sociological Insights, and Low-Resolution Eviction Data” 

  • Dongwon Lee, College of Information Sciences and Technology 
  • Amulya Yadav, College of Information Sciences and Technology 
  • J. Andrew Petersen, Smeal College of Business 
  • Guangqing Chi, College of Agricultural Sciences 

“Towards Data Privacy and Security in the Era of Digital Agriculture” 

  • Anna Squicciarini, College of Information Sciences and Technology 
  • Paul Esker, College of Agricultural Sciences 
  • Primal Pappachan, College of Information Sciences and Technology 
  • Mladen Cukak, College of Agricultural Sciences 

“Understanding the Prevalence of Drinking Water Service Disruption through Large-Scale Analysis of News Articles and Social Media” 

  • Christine Kirchhoff, College of Engineering 
  • Shomir Wilson, College of Information Sciences and Technology 

The Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence, which launched in 2020, promotes high-impact, transformative AI research and development, while encouraging the consideration of social and ethical implications in all such efforts. It supports a broad range of activities from foundational research to the application of AI to all areas of human endeavor. More information can be found on the CSRAI website