We are delighted to announce the outstanding group of researchers who joined the Internet Society Foundation’s Research Program in 2023. Since 2020, this program has supported researchers worldwide to explore the future and sustainability of the Internet.
These fourteen projects from five countries are collectively generating solutions today to meet the Internet challenges of tomorrow.
“The Internet Society Foundation is committed to advancing new research on the future of the Internet by awarding grants to deserving researchers. This work aims to influence policy and industry decisions, ultimately helping to shape a more equitable and sustainable future for the Internet and its users”, stated Sarah Armstrong, the Executive Director of the Internet Society Foundation.
The list below provides more information about each awardee. Projects are grouped by the Research Program’s four themes: A Trustworthy Internet, Decolonizing the Internet, Greening the Internet, and the Internet Economy.
Decolonizing the Internet
➡️ Joanna Kulesza and Berna Akcali Gur – Poland – USD $200,000
How can international and multistakeholder forums effectively address transnational data governance concerns, promote open and trustworthy Internet policy objectives, and bridge the capacity divide between the Global North and the Global South in the context of newly enhanced satellite Internet capabilities?
Greening the Internet
➡️ Mozilla Foundation in partnership with Green Screen Coalition – United States of America – USD $500,000
The Green Screen Climate Justice and Digital Rights Catalyst Fund seeks to catalyze emerging work that will lead to equitable and sustainable Internet infrastructures. As the field is still nascent and receiving funding is challenging for many individuals, communities, and civil society groups, the fund looks to provide access for experimentation and capacity building to actors who are left out of traditional siloed funding for digital rights and climate justice portfolios.
➡️ National University of Science & Technology, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe – USD $309,543
- What green friendly policies exist for governing the use of the Internet in Zimbabwe’s industries?
- Are Zimbabwean industries’ Internet usage practices compliant with the existing green friendly policies?
- What green knowledge and attitudes exist among industry practitioners for the design, manufacturing, acquisition, use, and disposal of Internet technologies?
- What constitutes a framework for greening the Internet from a Zimbabwean perspective?
➡️ SubOptic Foundation – United States of America – USD $500,000
- What are the cutting-edge best practices in metrics for sustainability that can be used by the subsea cable industry?
- How can industry-wide practices be best measured, harmonized, and formalized via this set of metrics?
- What specific technological, economic, regulatory, social, and political factors of the subsea cable network might facilitate the development and implementation of sustainable metrics?
- What limiting technological, economic, regulatory, social, and political factors could prevent the development and implementation of sustainability metrics? Taking into account these facilitating and limiting factors, what actions, organization, or policy can best build capacity and expedite impact for the adoption of sustainability metrics across the industry?
An Internet Economy
➡️ Code for Science & Society in partnership with Measurement Lab – United States of America – USD $433,578
The research attempts to create, define and implement a global scoring system for Internet quality (working title: Internet Quality Barometer) to enable coordination of corporate actors, governments, and intergovernmental organizations towards a common vision for connecting everyone to a quality Internet connection that users can trust and use to meaningfully achieve the needed services.
➡️ University of Washington – United States of America – USD $500,000
- Given the assumption of Internet flattening by traditional peering, what impact do new technical and economics arrangements such as remote peering and anycasting have on content delivery in Africa?
- What impact does increasing centralization of the Internet have on end-user web performance in Africa?
- How are these trends shaping the market for connectivity and content delivery in Africa?
- How are operators of African networks trading off cost and performance and what are the implications of these decisions?
➡️ Ruhr-Universität Bochum – Germany – USD $499,994
To what extent has the Internet become centralized, and how does this centralization impact operators, users, and society at large, particularly with respect to technical performance, security, privacy, and consolidation of power?
➡️ TechSoup in partnership with Global Digital Inclusion Partnership – United States of America – USD $500,000
- Did the digital gender gap mean that women and men experienced the COVID-19 pandemic differently, and in particular, what are the microeconomic and macroeconomic consequences of this gap?
- Did governments take action and succeed in fast-tracking access to Affordable and Meaningful Connectivity as a result of the pandemic? What specific actions proved to be impactful to reduce the digital gender gap and current gender-based digital inequality?
A Trustworthy Internet
➡️ University of California, San Diego in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology – United States of America – USD $500,000
How can the cost of mitigation of Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks in the Internet be transformed from a burden on the potential victim to a burden on attackers?
➡️ Center for Democracy & Technology – United States of America – USD $500,000
- How are content moderation systems designed and implemented for social media users in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia?
- How do content moderation systems operate in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia across other types of online services such as e-commerce, dating, online news and media, or live-streaming?
- How are automated tools incorporated into content moderation systems for select indigenous and other languages of South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia?
➡️ University of Missouri, Kansas City – United States of America – USD $203,500
- To what extent do everyday users of online social networks (OSNs) understand how their online experiences are curated and framed by these platforms’ algorithms?
- What platform(s) represent the most feasible starting point (open API, data access, ability to run services on top of their platforms, etc.) for building a pilot version of our tool?
- Will everyday users of OSNs want to install such a tool, and if so, how will doing so change their behavior?
➡️ Aspiration in partnership with Proof – United States of America – USD $380,136
The project aims to test whether scientific, data-driven short-form videos published on YouTube and TikTok can provide an oasis of trustworthy content amidst the rising tide of disinformation and AI-bot generated content flooding the Internet.
➡️ Reset Tech Australia – Australia – USD $219,000
- What are young people’s expectations of privacy when it comes to the use of EdTech products in schools? What would they like to see happen in their schools to improve privacy? How can their expectations be reinforced by policymakers and regulators?
- What are young people’s expectations of privacy when it comes to targeting? What would they like to see happen when it comes to targeting to improve their privacy? How can their expectations be reinforced by policymakers and regulators?
- Do their expectations across these two different case studies—EdTech & targeting—provide greater insight about how young people’s expectations might be met when it comes to privacy overall?
- What is the appetite from policymakers, regulators and technologists to embrace young people’s perspectives? What and where are the barriers for youth engagement?
➡️ Internet Safety Labs – United States of America – $499,378
- What are schools doing to ensure the safety of EdTech? Is it working?
- Are state student privacy laws impacting safety scores at schools in the state?
- Are schools providing adequate technology notice to parents and students?
- What demographic patterns relating to ISL App Safety Scores do we see across the US?
- How safe are school websites?
If you’d like to know more, you can see full details of our Research Grant Program.
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