Do you have an idea for an experimental policy intervention or practical tool that could help empower governments to build a better internet? The NGI Forward project is awarding individual grants of up to €25,000, from a total fund of €100,000, to trial bold new solutions on a local level.
We believe that the internet can be a force for positive change in the world. But we are not doing enough to tap into the great, ever-expanding potential of connected technologies. From the internet’s underlying infrastructure to the gatekeepers that decide what content we read and see, power over the internet is increasingly centralised. A small number of players, representing a fraction of the world’s population and diversity, are incentivised to protect their position through behaviour that has a long-term negative impact on social trust and cohesion, competition and innovation. This means that fewer and fewer people are able to reap the full benefits of the digital economy. Fewer still believe that it works in their interest. We want to change that.
While there is consensus that a serious and coordinated response is needed to remedy the internet’s many problems, we still lack the tools to take effective action. Some of the challenges we see require top-down interventions on the global or national level. But to make the Next Generation Internet a success we will also need more bottom-up efforts, action at the local level and the mobilisation of the whole innovation ecosystem.
One of the key goals of the NGI Forward project is therefore to provide a platform for policymakers, innovators and civil society to join forces and collaborate on key digital issues through collective action, knowledge-sharing and joint investment in new solutions.
This fund intends to contribute to doing exactly that.
We are looking to fund a minimum of four trials that put into practice our vision for a more inclusive, resilient, democratic, sustainable and trustworthy future internet by experimenting with concrete solutions on a local level, and ensuring that insights from these trials can be shared or scaled among the NGI community.
Policymakers have more levers at their disposal to spur innovation in the internet space than often thought, and can play a powerful role in shaping new markets for ethical tools. We particularly believe that local experimentation and ecosystem building are vital if we want to make alternative models for the internet actually tangible and gain traction. But finding the funding and space to undertake this type of trial is not always easy - especially if outcomes are uncertain. Through the NGI Policy-in-Practice fund, we both want to provide the means to organisations to undertake a number of these trials, but also make the case for local trials more generally.
We are open to creative ideas. Not sure if your idea qualifies? Here are some fictional examples of the type of ideas we might fund:
The internet has proven to be an invaluable resource for many communities, including the most vulnerable, during COVID-19. Therefore NGI Forward feels an even greater responsibility to progress its efforts to build a more inclusive and trustworthy internet that works for everyone. In light of this, Nesta and NGI Forward have decided to go ahead with launching this fund as previously planned. Though trials do not need to solve a problem related to COVID-19 directly, ideas that actively engage with the new reality each of us is operating in will be looked on favourably.
Though there are no hard and fast rules of what constitutes a good application - we are interested in experimental approaches after all - we do specifically look for proposals that demonstrate:
On a more practical level, we ask applications to clarify the following:
Deadline: The deadline for applications is 3 July 2020. We reserve the right to consider applications on a rolling basis, as match-funded projects in particular may need to launch before our anticipated June start date (as do experiments that are responding to current urgent dynamics). If this is the case, please note this in your application.
We do not anticipate all funding will be given out before the deadline, and will update this page with a current tally of funded projects to ensure full transparency for prospective applicants.
Review: Applications will be reviewed by an expert panel within Nesta, consisting of members of the NGI team and experts working on experimentation and practical trials across the organisation. You will hear from us by mid-July.
Our provisional timetable is detailed below. This is intended as guidance only.
* We are flexible with start dates, and will agree on project timelines and milestones collaboratively. Please note that all projects need to be finalised by August 2021.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
By submitting an application, you accept these terms and conditions and agree to comply with them. If you are submitting an entry on behalf of one or more organisations or a team, you undertake to Nesta that you have the authority to bind each of them and that you will be responsible for ensuring that they comply.
1. Who can submit?
Anyone who falls within the conditions of eligibility set out in the “Who can apply” section of https://www.nesta.org.uk/project/ngi-forward/next-generation-internet-ngi-policy-practice-fund/ (the “Eligibility Criteria”) can submit an application.
2. What happens after you apply?
2.1 We will assess any applications received by the deadline set out in the Eligibility Criteria and which satisfy the selection criteria set out in the Eligibility Criteria. As outlined in the Eligibility Criteria, applicants will be shortlisted and chosen by a selection panel and Nesta. We currently intend to inform successful applicants of our decision by the 31/08/2020.
2.2 Our decision about eligibility, about selection of applicants for the Fund, and about the amount and type of support to be provided (if any), shall be final. We may publish general feedback on applications to the Fund, but will not provide detailed individual feedback or enter into correspondence with individual applicants.
2.3 Participation in workshops and interviews, research and evaluation is a condition of participation in the Fund. Any financial or other support Funded by Nesta will be subject to the satisfaction of all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, signature of appropriate legal documentation and completion of appropriate milestones. Any funds received must be through a legally incorporated organisation. We may only fund applications which meet our charitable objects and provide public benefit. We may impose conditions and restrictions on any private benefit or profit that may be derived from our Fund. Financial support provided by Nesta may not cover all the costs of your project and VAT is not payable on funds.
2.4 You and your partners must bear any costs relating to the submission of your application and participation in The Fund. You must take independent legal advice if you are concerned about these terms and conditions or your participation in the Fund. Unless otherwise stated, each applicant may make only one application to the Fund.
2.5 If we decide to award you a grant, payment will be subject to your agreement to our Fund standard grant award terms, which will incorporate applicable terms from the European Commission’s model grant agreement, available here for reference: https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/mga/gga/h2020-mga-gga-multi_en.pdf
2.6 We reserve the right to refuse to accept any applications; to suspend or withdraw the Fund at any time; to vary the form and substance of the Fund or extend the deadlines; to reduce or increase the number of applicants selected for each phase of selection or the amount of support available under the Fund; and/or to reject any proposal or withdraw a place on the Fund if you are in breach of these terms and conditions, fail to participate fully in the Fund or in the event of an actual or potential conflict of interest. If any selected applicant subsequently withdraws or is withdrawn from the Fund, we may select a replacement applicant, but will not be obliged to do so.
2.7 We reserve the right to vary the Fund or these terms and conditions at any time and at our sole discretion. Variations will take effect from the date they are posted on our website so you must check this page regularly to see the current version. If you provide us with a contact email address, we will aim to notify you of any changes.
2.8 If you are unable to complete the application process due to a disability, please let us know so that we can consider whether reasonable adjustments can be made.
3. Your promises to us
By submitting an application for the Fund, you confirm on behalf of yourself and your partners that:
● all information and materials provided to Nesta by you or your partners are true, accurate and complete and you will notify us immediately of any changes to information or materials provided;
● you have provided us with all information which might reasonably be thought to be relevant or necessary for us to consider your application;
● you and your partners have, or will obtain as required, all authorisations, registrations, licences, consents and permissions necessary to submit your application, carry out your proposal and comply with these terms and conditions;
● in participating in the Fund, you and your partners will act lawfully, ethically and in good faith and will comply fully with equality and anti-bribery legislation and with any other applicable laws, regulations, guidelines and codes of practice, and will comply with our reasonable requirements, including in relation to health and safety and security, while attending interviews and workshops as part of the Fund; and
● neither you nor any of your partners has any actual or potential conflict of interest with Nesta (including with our trustees, officers or employees) in making your application or complying with these terms and conditions and you will immediately inform us if you become aware of any such conflict of interest.
4. Use of Information
We will use any personal information provided by you or your partners, including contact details
for your staff and your partners’ staff for the purpose of:
● assessing and evaluating your application;
● to process your application for the Fund;
● to administer the Fund; and
● to carry out evaluation and research.
4.2 We may carry out publicity and promotion for the Fund and publish our research and evaluation in relation to the Fund. You agree that you and your partners will participate in publicity for the Fund and consent on behalf of you and your partners to the use of the names of your organisations, a summary of your proposal, and photographs/recordings of your participation in the Fund, in promotion and publications relating to the Fund in any media and online.
4.3 Any publicity which you or your partners wish to carry out in relation to the Fund must acknowledge Nesta and the European Union funding and be approved by us in advance.
5. Limitation of Liability
5.1 To the extent permitted by applicable law, we will not be liable to you, your partners or anyone else in respect of any direct or indirect loss, or liability, costs claims taxes, charges or expenses, economic loss or loss of opportunity arising in connection with your application to, and your participation in, the Fund, and/or any reliance by you on any statement made or advice given by us, our partners or contractors. If you submit any materials or items as part of your application, you are doing so at your own risk. We give no undertakings to keep safely, maintain or return any materials or items. We do not make any warranty about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by Nesta in connection with the Fund. Any dispute between you and/or your partners and/or any other applicant must be resolved between you and independently of Nesta.
5.2 Without prejudice to Clause 5.1, our maximum liability to you or anyone else under these terms and conditions and the Fund (including the Fund application process) (if any) will be limited to £500. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude or limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence or fraudulent misrepresentation made by us.
6. Governing Law and Jurisdiction
These terms and conditions shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and both parties hereby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.