The MIT Media Lab will use the money to establish and operate a Laboratory for Social Machines.
"As part of the new programme, Twitter will also provide full access to its real-time, public stream of tweets, as well as the archive of every tweet dating back to the first, the MIT Media Lab said in a statement announcing the initiative.
"With this investment, Twitter is seizing the opportunity to go deeper into research to understand the role Twitter and other platforms play in the way people communicate, the effect that rapid and fluid communication can have and apply those findings to complex societal issues," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said.
The new lab's work will extend across many social media and mass media platforms, the MIT Media Lab said.
The LSM is to be directed by MIT Media Lab associate professor Deb Roy, who is also chief media scientist at Twitter.
"The Laboratory for Social Machines will experiment in areas of public communication and social organisation where humans and machines collaborate on problems that can't be solved manually or through automation alone," Roy said.