FPF Award for Research Data Stewardship

Data held by companies has the potential to unlock new scientific insights that can benefit society and expand human knowledge. When shared responsibly and using best practices with academic researchers, this data can support progress in medicine, public health, education, social science, and many other fields. But researchers are often denied access to the data sought for research due to myriad risks, including risks to the individual privacy of those implicated by the data. If processes governing the handling and transferring of data for research are not properly structured, sensitive personal information may be compromised.

Established by FPF in 2020, the Award for Research Data Stewardship recognizes a research partnership between a company and an academic institution, wherein the company shares data it holds in a privacy-protective manner with a researcher or research team for scholarly publication. The award is presented to the company and its academic partner based on several factors, including the adherence to privacy protection in the sharing process, the quality of the data handling process, and the company’s commitment to supporting academic research. 

Call for Nominations

The Call for Nominations for the 3rd Annual FPF Award for Research Data Stewardship is now closed.

For more information about the Research Data Stewardship Award program, contact Shea Swauger, Senior Researcher for Data Sharing and Ethics, at [email protected]

The Award is a part of FPF’s “Corporate Data Sharing for Research: Next Steps in a Changing Legal and Policy Landscape” project to accelerate the safe and responsible sharing of administrative data between companies and academic researchers. This project is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a not-for-profit grantmaking institution whose mission is to enhance the welfare of all through the advancement of scientific knowledge.


Research Data Stewardship Award Criteria

The award will be judged based on the following criteria:

Review Committee:

Nominations will be reviewed and selected by the Award Committee, composed of academic and industry leaders, including representatives from FPF, leading foundations, academics, and industry.


The Call for Nominations for the 3rd Annual FPF Award for Research Data Stewardship is open.

Announcement and Award Ceremony:

The Future of Privacy Forum will hold a virtual event celebrating the award winners and present the award to the academic research team and a senior executive at the company that provided the data. Award winners and a description of the research project will be widely promoted to over 200 industry FPF members, news media, academic publications, and other stakeholders.

Past Research Data Stewardship Award Recipients
2021: Stanford Medicine/Empatica
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Stanford Medicine researchers led by Tejaswini Mishra, PhD, Professor Michael Snyder, PhD, and medical wearable and digital biomarker company Empatica studied whether data collected by Empatica’s researcher-friendly E4 device, which measures skin temperature, heart rate, and other biomarkers, could detect COVID-19 infections before the onset of symptoms. Learn more about Early Detection of COVID-19 Using Empatica Smartwatch Data.

2021: Multiple Universities/Google

Google’s COVID-19 Mobility Reports and COVID-19 Aggregated Mobility Research Dataset projects, and researchers from multiple universities around the globe used the shared data from Google to assess the impacts of specific state-level policies on mobility and subsequent COVID-19 case trajectories. Learn more about Google’s Community Mobility Reports

2020: UC-Irvine/Lumos Labs

University of California Irvine (UCI) Professor of Cognitive Science Mark Steyvers and Lumos Labs employed privacy techniques to transform data on user play into innovative cognitive science research. Please see the announcement, project fact sheet, and watch the award ceremony to learn more about the award-winning collaboration.

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