Alternative Sources of Support – September 2018

Funding opportunities from OTF and elsewhere
Fri, 2018-09-28 19:19

Each month, OTF sends an announcement of upcoming funding deadlines relevant to internet freedom to our OTF-announce mailing list. The announcement includes funding opportunities from both OTF and alternative funding sources. Below you can find the September 2018 edition.

If you’d like to receive this announcement directly in your inbox, you can sign up for our low traffic OTF-announce mailing list here. In addition, you can find our compiled list of alternative funding sources here. The opportunities listed below are only for those with approaching deadlines, while a number of funders accept applications on a rolling basis.

OTF Funding

OTF – Internet Freedom Fund
Next deadline: November 1, 2018
The Internet Freedom Fund is OTF’s primary way to support projects and people working on open and accessible technology-centric projects that promote human rights, internet freedom, open societies, and help advance inclusive and safe access to global communications networks. Successful applicants are awarded monetary support up to $900,000 and no less than $10,000, with preference given to projects and people who are new to the internet freedom community, directly serving those living within repressive environments, and are requesting less than $300,000 for a duration of 12 months or less.

OTF – Core Infrastructure Fund
Next deadline: November 1, 2018
The Core Infrastructure Fund supports the development, improvement, and increased adoption of foundational ‘building block’ technologies that are relied upon by digital security and circumvention projects. This may include efforts focused on sustaining or improving PGP, SSL, SSH, Tor, OTR, pluggable transports, code libraries, or other technologies, infrastructures, and standards that make up the core building blocks of everyday internet freedom technologies and which are used by people throughout the world to increase their access, privacy, and security online.

OTF – Rapid Response Fund
Deadline: Ongoing
The Rapid Response Fund is part of a broader OTF initiative which aims to facilitate the development of a strong digital emergency response community that can work together to resolve threats in a timely and comprehensive manner. OTF offers both direct financial support as well as technical services from trusted service partners to resolve digital emergencies experienced by high-risk Internet users and organizations, such as bloggers, activists, journalists. and human rights defenders.

OTF – Labs
Deadline: Ongoing
For more specific, one-off support needs and services, check out OTF’s Labs: Localization, Community, Engineering, Usability, Red Team, and Legal.
Learn more about OTF’s Labs here:

Alternative Funding

State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) – Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): Internet Freedom Core Support for Anti-Censorship Technology
Deadline: November 9, 2018
The State Department’s Internet Freedom program issued a call for “organizations interested in submitting applications for long-term, core support for proven anti-censorship technologies.” DRL “anticipates having approximately $7,000,000…available to support approximately two to three successful applications” for technologies “that can be expanded to serve a larger and more diverse user base,” which have a “proven track record of successfully circumventing online censorship in highly Internet-restricted environments,” and which have a “significant existing global user-base,” among other requested specifications.
More information:

State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) – Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): Internet Freedom: Advancing and Promoting Anti-Censorship Transport Libraries
Deadline: November 9, 2018
The State Department’s Internet Freedom program has announced “an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for long-term development, core support, outreach, and implementation of censorship-defeating pluggable transports (PTs).” DRL “anticipates having approximately $2,000,000…available to support approximately one successful application” for “a multi-year program to expand the existing open-source pluggable transports library, provide support for emerging and innovative pluggable transports, engage in outreach to support the implementation of open-source transports into a variety of communication tools that are vulnerable to blocking by censorious regimes, and provide ongoing measurement and testing to determine the effectiveness of transports in different censorship environments,” among other requested specifications.
More information:

State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) – Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): Secure and Sustainable Human Rights Documentation Solutions
Deadline: December 7, 2018
The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) has announced “an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that support the research, development, and implementation of secure human rights (HR) documentation solutions,” in furtherance of DRL’s goal “to promote accountability for perpetrators of genocide and mass atrocities…Programs should provide civil society actors with sustainable solutions for usable and secure documentation-gathering, short and long-term storage, delivery and interface with international and national truth, justice, and accountability bodies and processes, and training in the implementation of such technologies and strategies.” DRL “anticipates having approximately $1,000,000…available to support approximately one successful application” for projects which “may span multiple years as appropriate[.]”
More information:

IBM – Call for Code Global Challenge
Deadline: September 28, 2018
IBM’s Call for Code Global Challenge is offering awards to projects seeking to “build applications that improve disaster preparedness and build resilient communities” which can be “deployed effectively and easily around the world,” with the first place grantee receiving a $200k USD cash prize and “long-term open source project support from The Linux Foundation,” while second and third prize awards total $25k USD. IBM stipulates that all submissions “must be deployed and run on the IBM Cloud.” Potential project goals include improving supply chain management through blockchain technology and utilizing analytics to predict the impact of extreme weather events.
More information:

Data Transparency Lab (DTL) – Call for Tools 2018
Deadline: September 30, 2018
“The main purpose of DTL is to support the development of software on data transparency & privacy. With this aim DTL has launched this international funding opportunity to enable startups, companies, entrepreneurs, students, universities and research centers to develop apps, tools, libraries and other forms of software that provide privacy and transparency to users on how their data is being used when they connect to online services: which data is collected, who is collecting that data and how it is used.” DTL will award a total of €50,000 to projects, with each receiving somewhere between €10,000 and €25,000, in addition to other non-monetary benefits.
More information:

Prototype Fund
Deadline: September 30, 2018
The Prototype Fund “supports ideas in civic tech, data literacy, data security, and software infrastructure.” Grants of up to €47.500 are available, and projects have up to 6 months to implement ideas from a concept to prototype. The Prototype Fund is able to support up to 25 projects per funding round, and outputs “must be made publicly available under an open source license.” This funding round features a specific theme of “Letting machines learn,” calling for submissions which “encourage more people to participate in shaping…new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
*Note: Limited to German residents*
More information:

Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative – News and Information Quality Challenge
Deadline: October 12, 2018
The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative (the AI Initiative) has announced $750,000 in funding aiming to ensure “the use of artificial intelligence in the news ecosystem” is applied “ethically and in the public interest.” The AI Initiative will accept proposals focused on four specific topics: “governance,” “platform design,” “bad actors,” and “journalism.” Proposals will be accepted through an open call.
More information:

National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program
Deadline: October 15, 2018
NED’s Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program “offers five-month fellowships to leading democracy activists, journalists, civil society leaders, and scholars from around the world.” Fellows work out of NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies in Washington D.C. for the duration of their fellowship. Intended candidates include “practitioners from developing and aspiring democracies, and those from non-democratic countries.” The fellowship offers “monthly payments to cover living expenses, plus basic health insurance, travel reimbursement, and research support” and runs from October 1, 2019–February 29, 2020 (Fall Session) or March 1–July 31, 2020 (Spring Session).
More information:

OpenCellular – OpenCellular Grants Program
Deadline (to submit a Letter of Interest): October 20, 2018
The OpenCellular Grants (OCG) program supports “the non-commercial development and non-traditional deployment of OpenCellular (OC) in rural areas where access to cellular is limited due to availability of service, price of service or limited consumer demand.” OpenCellular is a Facebook project focused on advancing “rural connectivity” by “developing of hardware, software and testing frameworks,” “manufacturing equipment for small scale production,” “connecting rural communities,” and “empowering/building capacity/knowledge.” Most grantees receive “between $10,000 to $25,000 USD,” though some larger grants may be available.
More information:

Facebook – Request for Proposals: Statistics for Improving Insights and Decisions
Deadline: October 30, 2018
Facebook is offering $150k in research grants “to address problems of applied statistics that have direct applications for producing more effective insights and decisions for data scientists and researchers” in order to improve Facebook’s platform while also “producing generalizable knowledge” and the creation of “useful, easy-to-use and open-source software.” Facebook is looking to support studies in areas such as the design and analysis of experiments; surveys, nonresponse bias and missing data; forecasting; statistical models of complex social processes; and the efficiency and correctness of human analysts, among others.
More information:

Outreachy – Paid Internships
Deadline: September 30, 2018
Outreachy “help[s] newcomers to Free and Open Source Software make their first contributions,” with a goal of supporting “people from groups underrepresented in tech” through paid ($5,500) 3-month internships with a variety of open source projects, including Debian, Mozilla, Fedora, Git, and Wikimedia. Note that some projects have deadlines later than September 30th; these can be found at the link below.
More information:

Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy – Individual Grants
Deadline: December 1, 2018
The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy provides individual grants for current PhD students working on “projects with a social policy application on either a global or local level” and which “address contemporary issues in the social sciences.” Grants are worth $7,500 and recipients have five years to complete their project.
More information:

National Science Foundation (NSF) – America’s Seed Fund
Deadline: December 4, 2018
NSF’s “America’s Seed Fund” program helps “startups and small businesses transform their ideas into marketable products and services,” focusing on “high-risk, high-impact technologies — those that show promise but whose success hasn’t yet been validated” in a variety of areas including “ IoT, edtech, smart health, [and] robotics.” The program awards $200 million in funding for entrepreneurs each year. Successful applicants may receive up to $225,000 for 6 to 12 months for Phase I funding, and are eligible to apply for second round funding of up to $750,000 over 24 months. Note that eligible applicants may not be non-profit institutions and must qualify as an American “Small Business Concern,” per the program’s stated eligibility requirements.
More information:

State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) – FY 2018 DRL Internet Freedom Annual Program Statement
Deadline: February 8, 2019
The State Department’s Internet Freedom program has issued its annual program statement detailing its desired criteria for applicants interested in submitting a Statement of Interest (SOI). There are four funding themes: 1) “Technology: Uncensored and Secure Access to the Global Internet,” 2) “Digital Safety,” 3) “Policy and Advocacy,” and 4) “Applied Research,” with preference given to open source technologies and projects that include a long-term sustainability model, feature collaborative partnerships, and which benefit at-risk and vulnerable populations. In order to remain eligible, SOIs should not request “less than $500,000” or “more than $3,000,000.” Organizations may submit up to two SOIs per deadline.
More information:

National Science Foundation (NSF) – Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) FY19 Solicitation
Application opens: October 1, 2018
Deadline: September 30, 2019

NSF’s SaTC program “welcomes proposals that address cybersecurity and privacy,” with preference given to “proposals that advance the field of cybersecurity and privacy within a single discipline or interdisciplinary efforts that span multiple disciplines.” NSF estimates that there will be $68 million available for project funding, with 93 awards in total expected. Funding is available for small (up to $500k, up to three years) and medium (from $500,001 to $1.2 million, up to four years) projects across three designations (CORE, Education, and Transition to Practice). This year, NSF is accepting SaTC submissions on a rolling basis over the course of a year, from October 2018 until September 2019. There are a number of other notable changes made from past NSF SaTC solicitations, which can be found in the posting linked to below.
More information:

Newly Added Alternative Funding Sources

Given the large amount of funding requests OTF receives, we’re always on the lookout for new funding sources that may be of interest to the community, keeping a special eye out for funders that are relevant in some way to Internet freedom, technology development, or the broader intersection between human rights and technology. Here are a few recently added to our list:

Tidelift – support for open source maintainers
Tidelift has committed $1 million to support maintainers of open source projects such as Babel, Vue, and Paramiko, among others. Additionally, any open source project can register to join the Tidelift platform.

Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society – Digital Civil Society Lab Fellowships
“The Digital Civil Society Lab’s Non-Resident Fellowship supports social sector leaders to dedicate some of their time working on ideas that apply to broad swaths of civil society.” Non-resident fellows are paid $20,000 for year-long projects, along with up to $5,000 in travel support.

Microsoft – AI for Accessibility
A $25 million program focused on “harness[ing] the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people around the world with a disability.”

Microsoft – AI for Humanitarian Action
AI for Humanitarian Action is “a new $40 million, five-year Microsoft program” focused on “ leverag[ing] AI to support disaster recovery, address the needs of children, protect displaced people, and promote human rights.”


In addition to the open application windows listed above, you can always check our compiled list of alternative sources of support:

To receive this and other funding or OTF-related announcements, sign up for our low-traffic OTF-announce mailing list here:!forum/otf-announce/join