Each of the thirteen projects receiving funding will address a specific research question related to preserving a sustainable, open-source digital infrastructure. Grant recipients include the Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Society, which will use the funds to investigate what makes an open-source project "critical digital infrastructure"; the University of Canberra and Telecom Paris Tech, which will look at the extent to which digital infrastructure projects are supported by waged labor, and how this affects project cohesion and sustainability; Martin Michlmayr, an independent researcher who will study how FOSS foundations — trade associations or nonprofits that provide services such as asset management to open-source infrastructure projects — contribute to the operations, sustainability, and success of critical digital infrastructure projects; and the Institute for International Law & Justice and Guaraini Institute for Global Legal Studies at the NYU School of Law, which will study the question of how legal devices and institutions can be adapted and applied, locally and transnationally, to overcome the under-maintenance of critical digital infrastructure.
"We believe that the Internet is a new public good that all of society relies on, and that we cannot create a just and equitable society without this vital platform being just and equitable, too," said Michael Brennan, technology program officer for Internet freedom at the Ford Foundation. "Ford has acted on this conviction by making a range of policy-related grants on issues including net neutrality and privacy. And while the debates over those policies — and our support — continue, we have come to recognize that issues of the technical infrastructure behind the Internet are just as important."
For complete a complete list of grant recipients, see the Ford Foundation website.