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