EFIS was coordinator of the Partnership for innovative technological solutions to ensure privacy and enhance trust for the human-centric Internet (Research and Innovation action funded under Horizon 2020 ICT-24-2018-2019 – Next Generation Internet – An Open Internet Initiative). The Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative 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 Trust project focused on security, privacy and surveillance aspects from different perspectives: at protocol level by seeking innovative ideas that may lead to new business opportunities, as well as by exploring technical and legislative factors that lead to disagreements amongst societal stakeholders (i.e. privacy versus security, authentication versus anonymity, etc.). As Europe has the most advanced privacy laws and regulations in the world, the NGI Trust project explored how to use this as a competitive advantage in (open source) software and hardware development, in data management services, etc.
NGI Trust supported the development of a human-centric Internet by fostering a stronger European ecosystem of researchers, innovators and technology developers in the field of privacy and trust enhancing technologies. The project had four overall objectives:
1.Reinforce, structure and develop the community of researchers, innovators and technology developers in the field of privacy and trust enhancing technologies
2.Build on the state of the art in privacy and trust enhancing technologies by focusing support for third-party projects in a limited number of priority topics.
3.Improve user trust and acceptance of emerging technologies by focusing on applications and solutions that develop a more open, robust and dependable Internet and strengthen Internet Governance.
4.Foster the exploitation and commercialisation of the results of selected third-party projects through a tailored process of coaching and mentoring.
The NGI Trust project used a cascade funding mechanism to support third-party projects, engaging with different players (academic research groups, high-tech start-ups and SMEs, etc.) working at various technology readiness levels (TRL) to explore topics that are critical to the next-generation Internet. Furthermore, projects were supported with dedicated technical coaching sessions, led by experts in the fields of privacy- and trust-enhancing technologies, and business mentoring sessions aimed at improving their qualitative level of knowledge and to make the best use of intellectual property rights (IPR), as well as planning the exploitation and market orientation of their technological solutions. A total of 86 third parties from 20 countries were awarded funding via the 57 projects selected.
NGI Trust had a number of significant impacts on its beneficiaries, both on an individual level and as a portfolio of projects. The immediate direct impact is that the majority of projects showed significant progress along the innovation funnel. Most of the beneficiaries felt that they were developing important technology and frameworks to be accessible to everybody, by developing partly and fully open-source solutions.
At the end of the NGI Trust project, some verticals were seen to be in dominant position (public sector, telecommunications, education, financial services, healthcare, and media and entertainment). NGI Trust enhanced most projects’ capacity to use the outputs of their projects to attract other sources of funding. It was observed that further growth could come from enhancing cooperation with public institutions: different forms of public procurement for innovation, in which the public sector uses its purchasing power to act as an early adopter of innovative solutions which are not yet available on a large-scale commercial basis.
NGI Trust mobilised third-party stakeholders in Europe and stimulated like-minded partnerships, which helped to bridge growth funding gaps observed in the privacy- and trust-enhancing technology sector. A key result of NGI Trust project has been its capacity to develop informal communities of practice, due to a set of ancillary activities (webinars, mentoring, initiatives of other NGI projects, etc.). NGI Trust underlined the importance of ethics, reliability and credibility within a ‘trust circle’ at the centre of a sustainable and appreciable next-generation Internet solutions made in Europe.
More information can be found at www.ngi.eu