Irish team lands lead role in European Commission internet programme

5 Jan 2018

Dr Alan Davy of TSSG. Image: TSSG

A new EU project aims to create a better internet for future generations.

A group of Irish research and technology experts have secured the lead role in a major €700,000 project funded by the European Commission (EC).

The aim of the project is to ensure that the internet of the future is “human-centric, citizen-inclusive and evolves significantly from today’s model, which is seen as primitive, fragmented, with security, data and privacy concerns as well as concentration of power issues”.

A major boost

Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is coordinating the project alongside another core partner, Trust-IT Services, which is based in the UK.

The proposal was coordinated by Dr Alan Davy, a funded investigator with Connect, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for future networks at TSSG.

The landmark EC Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme is called Next Generation Internet (NGI) and it is designed to get the public more involved and closer to its work for the upcoming Framework Programme 9 programme, the successor of H2020, which is expected to run to 2027.

Three key project areas

The NGI ecosystem has projects focusing on three areas: identifying research topics, continuous and dynamic consultation, and shaping a programme for an NGI initiative.

Each respective group will help innovation and research developers and designers to examine perceptions of the internet a decade from now, and the project will deal with growing privacy and security concerns, the use of social media in the future, and radically new technologies.

TSSG is leading the second requirement of, which addresses dynamic and continuous consultation, with James Clarke coordinating the project for TSSG.

Ireland at the forefront of internet strategy

Director of innovation at TSSG, Kevin Doolin, said the project is a win for Ireland as well as TSSG. “SpeakNGI places TSSG at the forefront of European discussions and strategy for the future internet.

“This is a strategically critical initiative for TSSG and its partners, and is the only Irish coordinated project of its type in this field.

“This project is seen by the European Commission as very much one of the necessary ‘Pathfinder’ projects for the building of the Next Generation Internet flagship initiative.”

Citizens at the heart aims to establish and enact an open, dynamic and continuous consultation process with the active involvement of key stakeholder groups on a ‘citizen-centric’ mission to discover their fundamental needs for the NGI, according to Clarke.

Clarke added that the project could be potentially worth tens of millions of euro, and that having an Irish coordinator for one of the projects is “a huge benefit to Ireland”.

Stephen O’Reilly, H2020 national contact point for ICT in Enterprise Ireland, said: “Enterprise Ireland regard TSSG’s appointment as coordinator of the project as a major coup as it places Ireland in a favourable position in the early stages of building this large NGI flagship initiative.

“This is a big topic win for the future, built upon the strong focus on European values and requirements. Having this leading role puts Ireland right at the heart of European ICT research.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects