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EU meets US in a Next Generation Internet Programme led by TSSG

By 3rd March 2020 No Comments

Mr. James Clarke, a researcher in the Telecommunications Systems Software Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has been awarded funding of €3.5 million  under Horizon 2020 for a Research and Innovation Action project entitled “A Collaborative platform for Bridging EU-US Next Generation Internet (NGI) Experiments (”.

This 3 year project  has 3 European partners, TSSG/WIT (Coordinator – Ireland), Trust-IT (Italy), EURESCOM (Germany), and 2 American partners, Rutgers University and the University of Utah.

Over its lifetime, will launch 5 open calls for proposals, with a total of €2.8 million available for European organisations, with US-based counterpart organisations being funded by US funding agencies, willing to carry out high-quality research & innovation activities on NGI experimental platforms. The purpose is to develop collaborations between EU and US research teams around the technical challenges posed by the vision of developing a more human-centric Next Generation Internet.

The NGI initiative, launched by the European Commission in the autumn of 2016, aims to do things very differently from the research and development activities of past programmes. The NGI initiative aims to shape the future internet as an interoperable platform ecosystem that embodies the values that Europe holds dear, including openness, inclusivity, transparency, accountability, privacy, cooperation, protection of data and information, and freedom. Since its launch, the NGI initiative has been developed to drive this technological revolution by attracting smaller scale project teams, with an expressed emphasis on high impact innovators, to bid for regular open calls on a number of relevant NGI topics.  These topics are spanning the domains of privacy and trust enhancing technologies, decentralised data governance, new forms of search and discovery, interactive technologies, and many more, while contributing to making the future internet more value-centric, human and inclusive for all citizens.

Stephen O’Reilly, the ICT H2020 National Contact Point for Ireland at Enterprise Ireland noted that “this is considered a landmark project since it represents the largest budget share to a single participant coming into the Republic of Ireland in ICT under Horizon 2020. This accomplishment is reflective of the success of Irish researchers in the area of ICT and contributes to underpinning the competitiveness of Ireland’s research eco-system. Researchers across the Institutes of Technology and the Universities and companies should be looking at the remaining opportunities under Horizon 2020 and preparing for Horizon Europe”

“TSSG and WIT have had great success in the Horizon 2020 programme across a number of domains and this is a significant boost to Jim and the team as we edge closer to the beginning of the Horizon Europe programme in 2021” explains Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation at TSSG.

James Clarke has dedicated over 6 years to building this research area of NGI as a project coordinator within the Future Internet Research Experimentation (FIRE) initiative and he was directly involved in the initial setting up and building of the EU’s NGI Initiative as coordinator of the project, one of the three “pathfinder” projects helping to define and build the NGI initiative with the European Commission. In addition, Mr. Clarke has a proven track record of coordinating international cooperation projects at TSSG for over a decade, including dedicated projects with the USA, making the awarding of a natural fit for this multi-million-euro project.

Commenting on the funding success, Mr. Clarke said “the consortium of partners from both EU and US has been selected carefully to bring the necessary competences together all the crucial areas required ranging from technical knowledge, direct experience in EU – US collaborations, to NGI policy understanding. This project is the culmination of years of effort and I am looking forward to seeing the results taking place over the next three years and beyond the lifetime of the project”.

Additional information on the project can be found here.

About is led by 3 European and 2 American partners with complementary skills and expertise: Waterford Institute of Technology (Coordinator – Ireland), Trust-IT (Italy), EURESCOM (Germany), Rutgers University (USA), and the University of Utah (USA). The project was the successful winner in the H2020 call entitled ICT-31-2018-2019: EU-US collaboration on NGI, Scope b) Research and Innovation Action, Common experiments by EU/US teams on emerging topics for the Next Generation Internet / Tomorrow’s Internet programmes on top of EU/US experimental platforms.

With the USA in particular, TSSG has taken a leading role in projects related to international cooperation in cybersecurity and privacy, including Framework Programme 7 (FP7) projects INCO-TRUST (2008 – 2010) and BIC (2011 – 2014), and H2020 projects DISCOVERY (2014 – 2017) and AEGIS (2017 – 2019). With this backdrop, it was a natural decision for James Clarke to apply for the EU – US call of the Next Generation Internet Initiative and the eventual awarding of” The outcomes of the project will include:

  • 5 Open Calls (Call#1: April – June 2020);
  • €2.8 Million Euros funding to European organisations to carry out high-quality R&I experiments on NGI EU/US experimental platforms;
  • 3- to 6-month collaboration projects involving European and US-based organisations, each with a funding range from 50k€ to 150k€;
  • An External Advisory Group (EAG), supporting with its competent contribution the relevance of the research topics prioritisation;
  • An External Pool of Evaluators (EPE), ensuring independence and fairness of the proposals’ selection process;
  • A Twinning Lab providing a webspace for researchers, innovators and start-ups to discover and connect with suitable transatlantic actors and establish complementary EU-US partnerships in addressing NGI challenges across several relevant topics.