Consumer organisation, Which?, has launched a second round of the Which? Fund. This is a £75,000 fund to support a small number of high-quality research projects to improve the understanding of the specific types of consumer harms experienced by diverse and disadvantaged communities, and to develop evidence-based solutions to tackle these harms.
This can include low-income households, women, people living with disabilities or health conditions, or members of diverse ethnic communities.
This year, the fund is looking to support projects looking at the harms that people in diverse and disadvantaged communities might specifically face in digital markets.
For example, some consumer groups might be more vulnerable than others to ‘dark patterns‘ – the design features used by websites and apps to influence consumer behaviour, which can both cause frustration and financial harm. Use of algorithmic systems could also create bias which has a disproportionate impact on diverse groups, and may be difficult to spot if, for example, machine learning systems are drawing on complex groups of variables which are correlated with protected characteristics.
Projects should build on what is already known, bringing new evidence and identifying innovative solutions and will need to address the following four impact areas:
- consumer rights and protections,
- digital life
- and scams.
The funding is available to UK registered charities and universities with exempt charitable status based in the UK and the closing date for applications is 19th September 2022.
For more information and to download the guidance notes and application form, go to: https://consumerinsight.which.co.uk/which-fund