NGI Open Calls for digital innovation: Roberto Viola, EC

The European Commission’s Director General of DG CONNECT Roberto Viola has blogged today about the importance of the Next Generation Internet initiative in Europe’s digital landscape. Viola, who launched the NGI back in 2016, says the Commission has invested more than €250 million in its digital research and innovation programme until 2020. Currently, the NGI Open Calls have €75 million funding available for innovators. Moving forward, the EC has proposed NGI as an intervention area in Horizon Europe (2021-2027).

Viola said, given the speed of technology developments, and the need to shape them with European values in mind, the NGI is crucial. He refers to Europe’s digital industry strengths, including strong regulations and funding that encourages the entrepreneurial ‘try and fail or succeed’ culture that has supported innovative internet development to date.

“The [NGI] programme focuses on key technology areas that are driving the development of the Internet, including blockchain, Internet of Things, social media, interactive technologies, as well as technologies supporting multilingualism and accessibility.

“As part of NGI, we have put in place the mechanisms to ensure that we attract the talents that will contribute to our vision. … Relying on a network of intermediaries that will fund them through equity-free grants, we will help innovators develop their ideas.”

Current NGI Open Calls

Viola outlines the current NGI Open Calls, which cover the key areas of privacy and trust enhancing technologies, search and discovery and decentralised data governance. The NGI directly supports internet innovators including individual researchers, developers, start-ups and social innovators.

“With these first open calls, we invite top European internet talents to engage in NGI and contribute with their ideas to building a better internet.

“Too often top internet innovators are not associated with European funding because of perceived high barriers to entry. We intend to lower these barriers by offering funding opportunities cutting across technologies for accessible, small, focused and agile projects.

“This is the value proposition that we as Europeans want to share with the internet community, with a view to create a community of stakeholders united around a common goal: to build an internet of humans,” he said.


Read about the NGI Open Calls

Read Roberto Viola’s full blog post:

NGI Open Calls