Mozilla Foundation Data Futures Lab Infrastructure Fund

Funding to support the development of technical tools and open source software to give people and communities better control over the rights to their data and how their data is used.

The Mozilla Foundation Data Futures Lab is an experimental initiative and virtual space designed to stimulate new approaches to data stewardship challenges. It provides funding, frameworks for collaboration, a forum for emerging ideas, and a place to workshop approaches to data stewardship which give greater control and agency to people.

The Data Futures Lab Infrastructure Fund has been established to support the development of open source software and technical tools to foster a more fair and just data ecosystem.

The objective of the fund is to ensure that communities and individuals are able to effectively exercise their rights over their data in a meaningful way – with particular regard to the dominance of private interests operating in the data ecosystem and the large datasets that power AI applications.

The Infrastructure Fund will support the development of technical tools to address issues of privacy, security, bias, ethics, and agency in how these datasets are collected, processed, used, shared, and governed.

Project funding is available in three tiers, depending on the project stage:

  • Idea phase: up to $10,000.
  • Development/testing phase: up to $25,000.
  • Launched/in-use project: up to $50,000.

Application is open to individuals and organisations, from any geographical location, that are able to receive funds in the form of grants from the Mozilla Foundation and have a core team in place to support the development of the project.

The Mozilla Foundation is especially interested in receiving applications from project teams that include members of the communities their project aims to serve, and from members of the Global Majority or Global South; ​​Black, Indigenous, and other People of Colour; women, transgender and/or gender diverse applicants; migrant and diasporic communities; and/or persons coming from climate displaced/impacted communities.

Examples of projects of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Tools to identify and address bias in datasets.
  • Tools for better informed consent management.
  • Tools to improve anonymisation of data.
  • Tools that allow individuals, communities, organisations to better exercise digital rights (such as those enumerated in GDPR, CCPA, etc).
  • Tools to assess interpretability and auditability of datasets.
  • Tools to support data donation projects.
  • Tools to support accessing and aggregating datasets for social good.
  • New data licenses that protect the rights and interests of individuals and communities.

Projects must demonstrate technical feasibility, public benefit and differ from, or improve upon, existing solutions.

Mozilla will also assist by connecting project teams with its communities of open-source developers, Mozilla fellows and awardees, and others working on data stewardship challenges.

There is a two stage application process: a Letter of Intent followed by a full application for selected applicants.

LOIs should be submitted by the deadline on 31 August 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)