ICO Grants Programme launches second round of funding for research into innovative privacy solutions

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched the second round of funding from its Grants Programme to promote and support independent, innovative research and solutions focused on privacy and data protection issues.

Like last year’s inaugural scheme, there will be a number of grants awarded for a minimum £20,000 and a maximum £100,000. Proposals do not need to be technology-based, but must have a practical application and provide real world solutions that are of clear public benefit to the people of the UK.

The ICO made four awards in the inaugural funding round last year. The relevance of the programme was demonstrated when one of the projects supported by the ICO was specifically welcomed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in his End of Mission Statement following a recent official visit to the UK.

Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, said: “Information Rights are evolving all the time and it’s fair to say that a lot has happened since we launched the inaugural Grants Programme a year ago. The introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the new Data Protection Act 2018, along with high-profile cases and incidents, has meant that privacy issues and concerns about how people’s personal information is used have probably never been more prominent.”

Eligible organisations are invited to bid for grants to support independent research and projects that meet one or more of the six strategic goals set out in the ICO’s Information Rights Strategic Plan. The key goal is to increase the public’s trust and confidence in how their personal data is used.

In particular, the ICO is seeking privacy by design or accountability solutions which focus on key privacy challenges, providing clear public benefit with outputs that are open source and re-usable.

Areas of keen interest

Examples of those areas in which the ICO is interested include:

*Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and machine learning. In particular, solutions that would enable effective transparency to individuals or verifiable audit trails

*Biometric and facial recognition and data protection safeguards in both the public and private sectors

*Children’s’ data, age verification and parental consent verification solutions

*Data trusts and the safe sharing of personal information

*Good practice, GDPR compliance and self-assessment tools for SMEs

*Privacy-enhancing applications of blockchain and distributed ledger technology that enhance privacy and accountability and minimise use of personal data

*Online advertising, cross-device tracking and tools that provide revocable consent and transparency

Further information about the Grants Programme, including eligibility, funding and outcome expectations is available on a dedicated page on the ICO website

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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