Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline April 1, 2024

NGI Mobifree

More ethical and human mobile software

More about: Guide for Applicants | Who is behind this? | Eligibility | FAQ

The first call of NGI Mobifree opened up on February 1st 2024, with a deadline of April 1st 2024 12:00 CEST (noon). Check out the guide for applicants and the frequently asked questions.


Technologies are not just a driving force for innovation. They shape society and significantly impact our lives in almost every aspect. Mobile devices like phones and tablets in particular have become pervasive: they are our gateway to the world at large, function as an external brain and are increasingly part of even our most intimate moments.

People should therefore be far more empowered when it comes to such a critical dependency. Even a mere user should be able to dive under the surface and learn more about the underlying layers of the technologies they depend on. Software and hardware should be open, transparent and reusable. This facilitates reuse, exchange and collaboration between developers and suppliers, but it is also a necessary requirement for consumers and organisations to make conscious choices about which technologies to use and which ones to avoid, and to start thinking about how together we shape technology rather than the other way around. If we want everyone to use and benefit from the internet to its full potential without holding back, the internet must be built on strong and transparent technologies that allow for permissionless innovation and are equally accessible to all.

The Public Stack treats the user not only as a customer in a market place, but first and foremost as a human being.

Mobifree is a pilot programme designed to push beyond the status quo of mobile software, and create a virtuous cycle of innovation through free and open source software, libre hardware and open standards. It has brought together a number of the "movers and shakers" of the open mobile ecosystem, in order to deliver a comprehensive development effort and advance a number of important free and open source technologies.

Together we work towards better technologies to restore and maintain European sovereignty and to secure democratic ownership of the digital society. Our goal is to help mobile technology evolve to a more healthy state, provide people with concrete new tools and more reliable infrastructure, in order to provide better security and allow users more agency and choice.

But this is a vast domain, with many more challenges than what any preconceived effort could tackle by itself. This is why we invite your contribution to help us reshape the state of play, and together create an open, trustworthy and reliable internet for all.

This is your opportunity to make a real difference. Maybe you are working on wholly new contributions towards opening up the mobile ecosystem, for instance in terms of open hardware, software, firmware or protocols. Perhaps you've conceived another way to remove current gatekeepers, choke points or surveillance capabilities. Maybe you are walking around with ideas to improve or enhance concrete existing applications (such as those further developed within NGI Mobifree, eg. F-Droid, Conversations or Micro-G). Or improve on other important solutions in terms of usability, security, privacy, interoperability, high availability and scalability — to allow everyone to benefit from mobile technologies without unnecessary drawbacks. You tell us how you believe we can move things forward.

In order to want to enable you to make such contributions to the goals you share with Mobifree, we will award 670 000 euro in small to medium-size R&D grants towards solutions that give European citizens and organizations more choice in, and access to, human-centered and ethical mobile software. We are seeking project proposals between 5.000 and 50.000 euro's — which should get you on your way. Noteworthy fact: several of the projects inside Mobifree were themselves bootstrapped on precisely such a grants from NGI, so now it is your turn to make an impact and start off your project.

Reliability, confidentiality, integrity, security, and resource efficiency should be the 'new normal' of the internet, something ordinary mobile users should not have to worry about — users should be in control of their mobile devices. So let's make it happen. The programme will run between now and November 2026, but budgets are limited — make sure you grab your opportunity.

The project results become available under an open source license, so anyone can read and validate the source code, and anyone can use the code to create technology that fits their own purposes. The right to reuse and right to repair not only allow for unrestricted scrutiny and permissionless innovation, but also help to reduce e-waste. And the use of standards enables interoperability and redundancy in implementation to reduce the risk of compromise and failure.

The consortium behind NGI Mobifree is wholly committed to make this opportunity come to life: there is a limited window of opportunity. Through the open calls, we assist you and other independent researchers and developers to join in and create powerful new technologies and put these in the hands of future generations as building blocks for a fair and democratic society. Help us build a sustainable and open economy that benefits all, and submit your idea today. Not sure whether your idea fits? Don't be afraid to send something completely out-of-the-box if you think you can contribute to the topic (and it fits with the eligibility criteria): it really is an open call.

The first call of NGI Mobifree will open early 2024.  Check out the tentative guide for applicants and the frequently asked questions.

Next Generation Internet

A human centric Next Generation Internet shall reflect the openness, diversity and the inclusion that are at the core of European values - Roberto Viola

The overall mission of the Next Generation Internet initiative is to re-imagine and re-engineer the internet for the third millennium and beyond to shape a value-centric, human and inclusive society for all. How we share and retrieve information is an essential part of that equation. The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us. It should enable human potential, mobility and creativity at the largest possible scale — while dealing responsibly with our natural resources. Doing so is essential to preserve and expand the European way of life. The Next Generation Internet initiative aims to mobilise the best ideas to improve how we find and connect people, devices, services and ideas.

The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us.

Acknowledgements

Logo European Commission

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101135795.