2022 Seed Funding

Back for a third year, CAIDE is excited to announce our seed funding round for 2022

Don't Blame Me!: Accountability and Human Systems in Algorithmic Decision-Making

Seed Funding Pic 2022

Image by Two Can Productions (2021)


Its human nature to need to attribute blame. And when it comes to AI Systems, we still aren’t sure who really is to blame – so it should be the human, right? Right?!

CAIDE is calling for proposals that address accountability and human systems within Algorithmic Decision-Making. Madeleine Elish [2019] argues that most accountability mechanisms use what she called the “Moral Crumple Zone”. In short, the Moral Crumple Zone is the tendency to assign blame to the ‘nearest’ person when something goes wrong, such as blaming pilots for aircraft accidents and operators for nuclear meltdowns, as two extreme examples. However, as Elish notes, often the technological aspects of such incidents contribute to people misunderstanding the situation, when they are instead supposed to help.

This seed funding theme asks: Who is to blame when something goes wrong? How do we make sure that the humans involved with automated systems are not wrongly blamed for a system they have little control over? Is the societal belief that technology is infallible, leading to the wrongful blame of the nearest human operator? Further, if this is the current default for human systems, how do we change it? Where do we place the accountability when something goes wrong?

Madeleine Clare Elish: Moral crumple zones: Cautionary tales in human-robot interaction. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society. 2019. https://estsjournal.org/index.php/ests/article/download/260/177

Funding opportunity

CAIDE is looking to advance cross-disciplinary research by providing seed funding for 2 or 3 projects focusing on Accountability and Human Systems in Algorithmic Decision-Making The program is designed to develop research ideas and nurture new collaborations across the University to build research capacity and capability in the emerging area of digital ethics. Under this funding, research teams must be cross-disciplinary and including researchers from two CAIDEmember faculties – Faculties of Science, Arts, Chancellery, Engineering and IT and the Melbourne Law School. External researchers or researchers from other faculties are able to apply, if they are joining a team with researchers from CAIDE member faculties. Seed funded projects will apply for a larger competitive grant.

Applicant are eligible for funding of up to $20,000 AUD.

Selection Criteria

Projects are selected by CAIDE with advice from the CAIDE Steering Committee on the following criteria:

- Feasibility, scope and budget
- Project novelty and innovation
- Alignment with the Centre themes and priorities
- Potential to generate high impact, scale and obtain future funding

Key Dates


Round opens


Tuesday 12 April


Submission date


Friday 10 June


Outcome date


Friday 1 July

Application Process

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are to be submitted to CAIDE Program Manager, Gabby Bush at gabby.bush@unimelb.edu.au

The EOI template can be downloaded here.

EOIs are due Friday 10 June, 2022.

To talk further about the research please contact Gabby Bush (Program Manager) at gabby.bush@unimelb.edu.au or Simon Coghlan (Lecturer, Digital Ethics) at simon.coghlan@unimelb.edu.au

CAIDE Seeding funding rules

Can be found here.