Open Technology Fund (OTF) is seeking proposals for its Core Infrastructure Fund that supports the ‘building block’ technologies, infrastructures, and communities relied upon by digital security and circumvention tools strengthening Internet freedom, digital security, and the overall health of the Internet.
- OTF awards are performance-based contracts signed directly with the applicant. Payment is issued on completion of stated objectives, activities, and deliverable per a schedule outlined in the contract. OTF reserves the right to award less or more than the funds requested as deemed in the best interest of OTF’s priorities.
- Applications that request more than the award ceiling of $300,000 or less than the award floor of $5,000 may be deemed technically ineligible.
Project and Budget Periods
OTF awards are generally 6 to 18 months in duration. From time to time, OTF may consider requests to extend existing contracts beyond previously agreed upon duration. Any such decision will be subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the applicants, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of program priorities.
- Ideal applicants are proposing efforts within the scope of this fund and OTF’s mission, values, and principles. In addition, ideal applicants meet one or more of the following:
- Individuals of all ages irrespective of nationality, residency, creed, gender, or other factors, with the exception that OTF is not able to support applicants within countries that the United States has trade restrictions or export sanctions as determined by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC);
- Non-profit organization/non-government organization, including U.S.-based NGO, PIO, or foreign NGO;
- Non-profit university or research institution in any country;
- For-profit organization or business in any country;
- Consortia of multiple people or organizations with one individual or organization designated as the lead applicant;
- Have demonstrated experience administering successful projects, preferably targeting the requested program area, or similarly challenging program environments where OTF reserves the right to request additional background information on organizations;
- Ideal applicants should not duplicate or simply add to efforts supported by other USG funding programs;
- Ideal applicants must not reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization, whether or not elected members of government.
- Ideal applications for this fund focus on supporting:
- Key developers or organizers so they can work full time on crucial core efforts in need of additional support;
- New developers or organizers focused on improving security standards, quality assurance, and best practices within core infrastructure projects;
- Developers, authors, or organizers drafting or promoting digital security and civil society needs within standards and protocols;
- Researchers exploring new methods of circumvention that would improve the resiliency of widely utilized tools;
- Specific outcomes, such as the necessary maintenance and upgrades to existing open source projects (database, hosting, or other tool migration; rewriting test suites; major new features);
- Efforts that make existing projects more accessible and easier to contribute to (ex. documentation, tool migration, refactoring code, testing);
- Efforts that develop new or evolve existing organizational and governance structures and sustainability models beyond work-for-hire;
- Efforts that increase the understanding and awareness of relevant actors in this space, their roles, and how they contribute to maintaining the Internet’s core ecosystem;
- Relevant to mission: Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, and relevance to the funds stated mission above. The work plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above.
- Ability to achieve objectives: Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable and achievable within the boundaries of the proposed funding. Applicants should not include items that require additional funding beyond the life of this grant. For complete proposals, applicants will have to provide a monthly timeline of project activities.
- Applicant’s record and capacity: OTF will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives.
For more information, visit Core Infrastructure Fund.