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Comcast Seeks Projects for ‘Innovation Fund’

Comcast said it has opened the search for researchers and projects for the MSO’s Innovation Fund for 2016.

The fund, Comcast VP of Internet services Jason Livingood, noted in this blog post, applies a focus on broadband, security and open-source development.

During its history, Comcast’s Innovation  Fund (formerly called the Comcast Technology Research & Development Fund) has supported  62 projects from 10 countries, he noted. According to the 2015 annual report on the initiative, 19 grants were made last year for U.S.-based projects, and one each in France, Switzerland and Australia.

Livingood highlighted three 2015 projects in the post: The United States Telecommunications Training Institute’s (USTTI), which provides free information and communications technology (ICT) training to technology leaders in the developing world; TheFrench Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation’s (INRIA), which researches advanced trouble-shooting tools for home networks; and Georgia Tech, which is working to develop better firewall tools to help users spot and avoid malicious Domain Name System (DNS) activity.

“We specifically designed the fund to be a resource for researchers working on smaller projects that may not qualify for larger grant programs,” Livingood wrote.

The fund as backed by a $1 million commitment from several groups within Comcast in 2014 and 2015, and that level has been renewed for 2016, according to the annual report. Grants range from $3,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the size and scope of the project.

Looking ahead, Livingood said the Innovation Fund is 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; and advance understanding of the Internet of Things.

“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,” Livingood wrote.