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NGI Research Goes To Standardisation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NGI Assure (NGI Research Goes To Standardisation)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-02-28

Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) are promising technologies with enormous potential to enhance the way that citizens, governments, and businesses interact, by enhancing trust between entities and improving the efficiency of operations. These technologies have the potential to bring great improvements to the European industry and citizens powered by contributing to develop a more human internet based on the Next Generation Internet values.

However, these technologies face numerous challenges that could affect its adoption across organizations. A significant amount of research is required to overcome the considerable governance and technological challenges involved therein. Scalability and a lack of speed, talent and standards could slow down both its implementation and the development of new blockchain applications.

The ultimate goal of NGI Assure is precisely to close the gaps for more efficient, scalable and secure blockchain applications, by supporting promising bottom-up projects (BuPs) that are able to build, on top of state-of-the-art research, reusable Advanced Blockchain Technologies (ABT) and related enabling technologies that contribute to the vision of the Next Generation Internet. To achieve this goal, NGI Assure is implementing a programme which consists of:
● Pan-European scouting of outstanding NGI Researchers and ecosystem building through a wide dissemination of the NGI Assure open call by implementing a marketing campaign, webinar, specialized on-line communities, social media platforms, and more.
● Trustable and unbiased selection of NGI Researchers through its open call.
● A support programme for the standardisation of Advanced Blockchain Technologies.
● Technology adoption: Exposure to a custom-made ‘Sustainability Journey’ that will involve mentoring support with specialised mentors in the Internet domain and connection with potential technology adopters interested in bringing the technology to the market.
During the first project period (M18) several activities have been successfully performed to gain the main project objectives.
In particular, an intensive programme of Open Calls with deadlines each two months has been implemented asking for project focused on develop research, proofs of concepts, piloting, testing and benchmarks to improve and further develop advanced blockchain technologies, ABTs and related enabling technologies as part of a complete, strong chain of assurances for all stakeholders regarding the source and integrity of identities, identifiers, data, cyberphysical systems, service components and processes.

To create a NGI ecosystem and community to attract academic research groups, hi-tech start-ups, SMEs and other multidisciplinary actors willing to participate to the Open Calls, a well-structured plan of communication has been defined and implemented. Such activities have been supported by an innovative scouting process, based on data analytics, ensuring a wide participation in the project, making special attention on attracting newcomers or applicants that usually do not participate in EU Projects.

As results of all the actions taken, 7 Open Calls have been launched and managed. 407 applications have been received and 73 projects were selected for funding giving the possibility to the NGI Assure consortium to award €2,745,690.00.

During the period the NGI Assure partners has provided mentors to all 73 selected projects and organized one or more in-depth intake sessions. During these sessions the mentors familiarized the beneficiaries with NGI and help to understand and advance their project with technical and practical suggestions. Prior to these calls all projects received an intake package that details NGI, NGI Assure, how to go about setting up a Memorandum of Understanding and project plan, the available support services and how to be paid for work done.
The first expected impact is to shape a more human-centric evolution of the Internet. NGI ASSURE contributes to this impact by putting the persons as the core of the of the projects making compulsory for all the BuPs the application of ethical values with the focus on minimizing issues related to privacy, negative environmental and adversary AI.

The second expected impact is to reinforce the European Blockchain ecosystem and excellence in research by making sure that the most innovative communities are represented in the NGI ASSURE Community, to liaise with the Open Source Communities, technical and operational community and Standardisation Organisations, to keep in sync with relevant technological development, to improve the excellence research of the BuPs by having them in contact, along the full process, with specialised experts, and more.

The third expected impact is related to promote interoperability and strengthening the role of Europe in international standardisation by supporting only BuPs that commits to generate Open Knowledge as result of their projects in the shape of “Open Source Software”, and “Open Access” accordingly with the nature of the result, being software of other intangible piece of knowledge

The fourth expected impact is to create a European blockchain ecosystem integrating research and innovation communities. The NGI ASSURE proposes an innovative process to identify the most outstanding researchers and innovators in the blockchain domain (by means of the scouting process to be done by applying data analytics techniques through Wheesbee Platform) and an agile and flexible Open Call process (a two stages process, continuously open, with several cut-off dates) to facilitate their onboarding into the blockchain ecosystem.

The fifth expected impact is to generate new business opportunities and new Internet companies with maximum growth and impact chances.
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