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NLnet grants first Next Generation Internet projects

New support scheme launched for independent researchers and open source developers

Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

Brussels/Amsterdam, June 16th 2019

Today NGI Zero announces the first ever projects from the Next Generation Internet initiative, an ambitious new international R&D effort from the European Commission aimed to fix the internet and make it more resilient, trustworthy and sustainable. Out of a wide range of interesting proposals originating from 31 different countries, 52 advanced technology projects were finally selected by NLnet foundation to become the first ever recipients of the funding and support from NGI. Unique to the new funding scheme of NGI Zero is that the entire yield of projects will become available as open source, open hardware and open standards. Another unique trait is that all projects will be delivered accessible to people with visual or other disabilities.

The overall mission of the Next Generation Internet initiative is to re-imagine and re-engineer the Internet, states Michiel Leenaars, director of strategy of NLnet Foundation and coordinator of NGI Zero. If we want the internet to bring out the best in all of us, we have to make sure the technology we create enables us to do just that. Through our funding, some of the best talents in Europe can afford to spend their time and energy to help the internet forward. And we do in in an inclusive way.

The NGI Zero grant schemes are meant for independent projects, researchers and open source developers that develop real solutions to improve either the privacy and trustworthiness of the internet or make search and discovery more open and empowering. Both individuals and organisations of any type can apply for the funding, which is awarded competitively.

Permission-free innovation, openness and interoperability have made the internet an enduring success and an integral part of how we live, work and connect, argues Olivier Bringer, head of the Next Generation Internet Unit in the European Commission. The Next Generation Internet is set up to empower end-users with control of their personal data and their online environment in general. Privacy and trust enhancing technologies and open search and discovery are essential building blocks that this new grant scheme helps create.

Privacy and trust enhancing technologies

The first batch of projects awarded by NGI Zero PET already clearly shows how important it is to have this new type of funding available. Despite their limited size these projects address a wide range of concrete issues relevant to citizens and businesse alike, which had been left dangling until now because they did not match conventional funding instruments. From software that allows to keep router firmware up to date, a proposed new standard software that will give school children more privacy with online learning materials, an encrypted conferencing tool to an online collaboration environment that keeps data locked away from the server.

The researchers funded through NGI Zero will also be addressing a number of less well-known but fundamental privacy and security issues in the current internet technology stack, ranging from computer software fundamentals to mathematical verification of the security of protocols.

Improving search and discovery

Another segment of projects addresses how people can better find information and connect to other people, in a privacy-friendly and more trustworthy manner. The twenty projects awarded by NGI Zero Discovery range from a so-called meta-search engine that people can use to get out of the filter bubble, community tools to better deal with the flood of scientific papers to an alternative naming system for the current internet, to a censorship-resistant search engine for a global decentralized storage system.

In the near future, thanks to NGI Zero you will be able to find new friends and interesting discussions on more privacy-friendly social media. Other projects will help you to better understand what is happening in your neighborhood through an open map of the world, or will help journalists gather intelligence and search through private archives in a confidential and trustworthy way. The funding programmes will last initially until 2021, and new project proposals can still be submitted.

And if you want to know more about the Next Generation Internet initiative and how it supports funding schemes like NGI Zero PET and Discovery, you can stay up to date on the latest NGI news

About NLnet Foundation

Logo NLnet: letterlogo with abstract shape of four circles joining

NLnet foundation is an independent organisation whose means come from donations and legacies. The history of NLnet goes back to 1982 when a group of Europeans led by former NLnet director and member of the Internet Hall of Fame Teus Hagen announced the European Unix Network (EUnet) which became the first public wide area network in Europe and the place where internet was introduced to Europe. NLnet also pioneered the worlds first dial-in and ISDN infrastructure with full country coverage. In 1997 all commercial activities were sold to UUnet (now Verizon) and since that time NLnet has focussed on supporting the open internet, and the privacy and security of internet users.

Its private capital ensures an absolute independent position. The articles of association for the NLnet foundation state: "to promote the exchange of electronic information and all that is related or beneficial to that purpose". NLnet's core business is to support independent organizations and people that contribute to an open information society and to a safe, secure and open internet.

A number of times a year NLnet organises a worldwide open call for projects to be supported. The long list of NLnet-funded projects includes NLnet Labs, Tor project, Unhosted, Qubes, NOMA, Wireguard, Koruza, Serval, Jitsi, ARPA2, NoScript, CeroWRT and GNUnet.

Developers and researchers are invited to apply for grants.

For further information contact NLnet

About NGI Zero

Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

NGI Zero is a collaboration initiated and spearheaded by the NLnet Foundation that currently organizes the two open Next Generation Internet calls NGI PET and NGI Discovery. NGI Zero is a unique consortium made up of multidisciplinary thought leaders in the field and community leaders representing organisations at the heart and soul of the internet. Together the following organizations help all NGI Zero projects live up to high standards in terms of security, privacy, accessibility, standardisation and other key internet criteria: Accessibility Foundation, Association for Progressive Communications, Center for the Cultivation of Technology, Network Security Group of Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Free Software Foundation Europe, ifrOSS, NixOS Foundation, Petites Singularités, Radically Open Security, TIMIT and Translate House.

About the Next Generation Internet initiative

Logo European Commision

The Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative, launched by the European Commission in the autumn of 2016, aims to shape the future internet as an interoperable platform ecosystem that embodies the values that Europe holds dear: openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and protection of data. The NGI will drive this technological revolution and ensure the progressive adoption of advanced concepts and methodologies spanning the domains of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, interactive technologies and more, while contributing to making the future internet more human-centric.

This ambitious vision requires the involvement of the best Internet researchers and innovators to address technological opportunities arising from cross-links and advances in research fields ranging from network infrastructures to platforms, and application domains to social innovation.


Logo European Commission

NGI0 PET and NGI0 Discovery is made possible with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

NGI Zero receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 825310 and 825322.