Today, Mozilla is pleased to announce that we’re joining the Ford Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations to launch a request for proposals (RFP) for research on open source digital infrastructure. To kick off this RFP, we’re joining with our philanthropic partners to host a webinar today at 9:30 AM Pacific. The Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) is contributing $25,000 to this effort.
Nearly everything in our modern society, from hospitals and banks to universities and social media platforms, runs on “digital infrastructure” – a foundation of open source code that is designed to solve common challenges. The benefits of digital infrastructure are numerous: it can reduce the cost of setting up new businesses, support data-driven discovery across research disciplines, enable complex technologies such as smartphones to talk to each other, and allow everyone to have access to important innovations like encryption that would otherwise be too expensive.
In joining with these partners for this funding effort, Mozilla hopes to propel further investigation into the sustainability of open source digital infrastructure. Selected researchers will help determine the role companies and other private institutions should play in maintaining a stable ecosystem of open source technology, the policy and regulatory considerations for the long-term sustainability of digital infrastructure, and much more. These aims align with Mozilla’s pledge for a healthy internet, and we’re confident that these projects will go a long way towards deepening a crucial collective understanding of the industrial maintenance of digital infrastructure.
We’re pleased to invite interested researchers to apply to the RFP, using the application found here. The application opened on July 20, 2020, and will close on September 4, 2020. Finalists will be notified in October, at which point full proposals will be requested. Final proposals will be selected in November.
More information about the RFP is available here.