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Twitter Data Grants gives bulk tweets to researchers for study

Within the plethora of daily tweets, researchers in the fields of health, natural disasters, finance, and more can find insightful information.

James Martin/CNET

With 500 million tweets sent each day, Twitter thinks there must be valuable information held within that deluge of data. That's why it's initiating a new pilot project called Twitter Data Grants.

The project involves Twitter giving various research institutions free access to its public and historical data. The institutions can work in fields like epidemiology, natural disaster response, financial markets, and politics. The idea is that these research groups can crunch the data and see what type of insights lie within.

"To date, it has been challenging for researchers outside the company who are tackling big questions to collaborate with us to access our public, historical data," Twitter's vice president of platform engineering, Raffi Krikorian, wrote in a blog post. "Our Data Grants program aims to change that by connecting research institutions and academics with the data they need."

Twitter is working with a company called Gnip in the Data Grants project. Gnip is a certified data reseller and is capable of harnessing Twitter's massive amount of daily tweets and identifying and refining the data needed by researchers.

"Public social data from Twitter represents one of the most important archives of human thought to have ever existed, and we believe the research applications are limitless," Gnip CEO Chris Moody said in a statement.

To be part of Twitter Data Grants, research institutions must submit proposals by March 15.