Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline December 1st, 2021.

NGI Assure wants security and privacy guarantees

New R&D grant programme on public benefit tech

As part of the Next Generation Internet initiative, we are happy to announce a brand new grant making programme which available as of today. NGI Assure was set up with support from the European Commission to fund research and development of free and open source technologies that provide us with strong assurances that the way we perceive the internet is actually also the way it works.

The internet is vital to modern life, but its technology was never designed to support our economy and society with security and privacy guarantees. To advance the state of art and make our online identities, data, services and connectivity as secure and private as we assume they are, we need new ideas. That is why the Next Generation Internet program of the European Commission has provided funding to NGI Assure that will allow us to support research and development into technical guarantees for a trustworthy internet.

From a consumer perspective the internet keeps on scaling, but most do not realise that this is only possible through immense investments and ditto efforts from the technical and operational community. , states Michiel Leenaars, director of strategy at NLnet. As a fundamental technology it is nowhere near as solid as a societal dependency of that importance ought to be. It makes sense to look at technology to solve the many problems that we online have: often we cannot tell fake from real, secure from dangerous or confidentiality from false trust in what technology providers tell us. The new NGI Assure R&D programme has a strong focus on technologies that don't just ask for our trust, but provide as much technical guarantee as possible that this trust is justified.

The size of the new fund is just over 5.6 million euro, making it a worthy successor to the NGI Zero PET fund that after two years is allocating its final projects (with the final count expected to total over 150 projects in over 37 countries, making it currently the single largest project inside the Next Generation Internet initiative). Like its predecessor, NGI Assure will allocate its fund in small to medium size grants through a competitive open calls, and like NGI Zero it will support of free and open source efforts that contribute to addressing key challenges of the internet. Selected projects can also receive complementary support like security reviews, and are provided with a mentoring programmei tailored to improving the sustainability of free and open source efforts.


Summary

NGI Assure is looking for technological building blocks that provide strong assurances to internet users. There is a strong preference for technologies that solve a concrete problem. A non-exhaustive list of technologies that could be of interest:

  • quantum-proof cryptography
  • public key trust chains
  • ratchet mechanisms like the Noise-protocol to better protect longterm communication
  • distributed hash tables and directed acyclic graphs for secure peer-to-peer connections
  • mixnets and onion routing mechanisms
  • symbolic and formal proofs
  • open hardware implementing core cryptographic primitives

Project outcomes need to be delivered under free and open source licenses. Your proposal can be between 5.000 and 50.000 euro's, and there is the definite possibility of follow-up projects if results show enough potential. If you have a great idea that is not included in the list above, do not worry: to create the internet of tomorrow we may need ideas no one has ever thought of before. The first open call of NGI Assure will close on February 1st 2021, with a new bimonthly call opening up until the whole fund is allocated.

Please check the NGI Assure overview page for more info, or submit a proposal straightaway.

Background information on NGI Assure?

NGI Assure contributes to the Next Generation Internet initiative of the European Commission to re-imagine and re-engineer a trustworthy, reliable and sustainable internet. NGI Assure is managed by Innovation Engineering, FundingBox and the NLnet foundation. Find out more here about the Next Generation Internet and other open calls for research, development and project support to make your idea a technology that solves problems on an internet scale.