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Next Generation Internet Fund (RIA)


The general objective is to nurture a structured human-centric internet eco-system by turning digital values into motivating challenges for top value-driven open source innovators in Europe enabling to create, mature and grow new internet commons. These commons encompass the whole internet stack (both server and device sides) from open hardware, networking and transport technologies, firmware, operating systems and virtualisation, electronic identities and middleware, decentralised ledgers, software productivity tools, traffic supervision tools, up to over the top internet and vertical applications.

Applicants should select and fund third party projects through financial support to third parties based on excellence and implement a continuous open call environment addressing the requirements for transparency, publicity, confidentiality, fair treatment, and handling of conflict of interest. Applicants should publicise calls towards the open source communities actively influencing the course of the Internet.

The calls should aim at improving trust, privacy, portability, discoverability, inclusion with better sharing and search of personal and non-personal data with advanced identity management, implementing optimal balance between decentralisation, security and energy efficiency and ensuring more socio-economic benefits.

Applicants should define the mechanisms for maturing third parties’ projects e.g. security and accessibility audits, packaging of the software for easy deployment, localisation of the software in EU languages, documentation best practices and advising on licensing.

Applicants should detail the path to growth for third parties’ projects e.g. by actively animating communities, creating momentum among like-minded efforts, defining how projects will gain critical mass and what services will be provided for reaching such stage. Proposals should also detail the strategy for standardisation.

Applicants should address the issue of longer term sustainability of the projects by providing legal hosting capabilities, advising on funding models (based on open source business models e.g. foundations) and on governance models (e.g. in relation to European strategic autonomy) integrating a maintenance strategy.

Applicants should actively manage the portfolio of funded projects and provide a coherent overall picture, describing how mature solutions are by giving details on audits made and ensuring trusted and easy deployment capabilities for each building blocks.

Applicants should strive for identification of common tools and stimulate maximum re-use among funded projects e.g. interoperable identity and credential management tools, common packaging solutions, tools for decentralised social media.

Applicants should create the conditions for successful collaboration with NGI pilot actions as well as other ongoing NGI actions such as the outreach office and ongoing research and innovation actions in the area of trust, search, architecture, blockchain and international.

Applicants should seek active collaborations with like-minded funding efforts addressing internet commons at national, European levels and beyond Europe including with European technology industries.

Applicants should demonstrate their experience and understanding of open source communities and their expertise covering the full open source life cycle through proven track record including years of experience and indication of volume of open source projects supported.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Financial support to third parties

The proposal should detail the calls logic including criteria for eligibility and award, procedure for awarding, eligible costs, third parties’ costs calculation and maximum per calls. Third parties will be funded through projects typically in the EUR 50 000 to 150 000 range per project, with indicative duration of 9 to 12 months.

The consortium should provide the programme logic for the third-party projects, managing the projects life-cycle, and provide the necessary technical and non-technical support: these tasks cannot be implemented using the budget earmarked for the financial support to third parties.

The Commission considers that proposals in this topic with an overall duration of typically 42 months would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other durations.