Earlier today we released the annual report for our Comcast Innovation Fund, which we created to support important research into the future of the Internet, with a focus on broadband, security and open-source development.

The search is now on for the innovative researchers and projects that the fund will back in 2016 and beyond.

Today’s report details the third full year of the Innovation Fund (formerly the Comcast Technology Research & Development Fund), which has supported 62 projects from 10 countries around the world. We specifically designed the fund to be a resource for researchers working on smaller projects that may not qualify for larger grant programs.

The results have been tremendous. Backed by the Innovation Fund, researchers have worked on projects that have ranged from exploring how STEM education is being incorporated into after-school programs, to building open-source tools to detect and combat malicious DNS (Domain Name System) activity, to name just two interesting projects.

It’s worth reading the full report to check out all of the projects we funded last year, but I’ll just mention a few here:

  • The United States Telecommunications Training Institute’s (USTTI) provides free information and communications technology (ICT) training to technology leaders in the developing world. Funding supported training for ten officials from Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Senegal, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

  • The French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation’s (INRIA) is researching advanced trouble-shooting tools for home networks.

  • Georgia Tech is working to develop better firewall tools to help users spot and avoid malicious Domain Name System (DNS) activity.

As for the sorts of proposals we’d like to see this year and beyond, we’ve deliberately left the criteria for the Innovation Fund broad enough to encompass a wide variety of research and important work ranging from hands-on open-source development, to technical research, technology policy, Internet economics, and more. We are particularly interested in supporting projects that:

  • Create or advance important open-source projects

  • Address critical cybersecurity threats and issues

  • Advance the deployment and adoption of IPv6, DNSSEC, and DANE

  • Identify performance bottlenecks and other issues in home networks

  • Explore the performance and security-related issues in home networks

  • Advance understanding of the Internet of Things

Since its first year of operation, the fund has been backed by a million-dollar annual funding commitment from Comcast. Grants range from $3,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the size and scope of the project.

We’ve begun funding projects for 2016, but still have a lot of opportunity to support good projects. And if we see a worthy project that we can’t fit in this year, we will put it up for consideration in 2017.

To learn more about the Innovation Fund, or to apply for a grant, check out the Innovation Fund Web site.