Comcast Innovation Fund Annual Report: Dynamic Research, Exciting Results

After more than five years and 100 research projects that advanced Internet technology, we’re very excited to share the 2017 Annual report for the Comcast Innovation Fund, which we created in 2013 to support important research into the future of the internet, with a focus on broadband, security and open-source development.

To date, the Innovation Fund, has supported 111 projects by researchers from 13 countries around the world. We specifically designed the Fund to be a resource for researchers working on smaller projects that may not qualify for larger grant programs, and we are pleased to see increased interest in each successive year.

We continue to be inspired on a daily basis by the work of the fund’s grantees.  The exciting work from 2017’s group of 24 Innovation Fund grant recipients includes:

  • Novel research at Princeton University that focuses on “cloud to fog” network computing, working to develop a realistic approach that makes networks more efficient. They are working on ways to push network intelligence and processing closer to end users, moving from a binary choice between whether to carry out clients' tasks using cloud infrastructure or edge devices to a mutually beneficial, inter-dependent model where the cloud, network, and edge devices can work in concert.
  • The Future of Privacy Forum’s exploration of how the Internet of Things (IoT) can empower people with disabilities. Their work under this grant brings disability advocates into policy conversations on privacy, data, and technology to explore the range of ways that IoT can be used to help improve the lives of those with disabilities and convenes important privacy-data-technology policy debates related to these communities.
  • Cutting edge research at the University of Toronto to explore new methods to use complex natural language voice search to find highly specific video content. In particular, they plan to address a scenario where the user describes a movie scene or a news event in natural language, in order to retrieve the relevant clip(s) from a lengthy video.
  • Important research at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus to explore how to re-design hospital rooms with patient advocates in mind, bringing together student designers from a variety of disciplines including mechanical engineering, pre-med, architecture, electrical engineering, anthropology, and fine arts. 
  • Groundbreaking work by the Cybercrime Support Network to create a pilot project in Michigan to meet the needs of U.S.-based cybercrime victims. The pilot program will enable residents to call 211 when affected by cybercrime, connecting them with resources that can help, and more accurately capturing crime data to reveal more accurate crime statistics. Their vision is that calling 211 as a portal to help for cybercrime will be as commonplace as calling 911 for emergencies related to health and safety.

We’ve seen compelling research, promising new open-source code, and creative solutions to challenges large and small that affect internet users around the world.

Since its first year of operation, the Fund has been backed by a million-dollar annual funding commitment. Grants range from $3,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the size and scope of the project.

We’ve already started to award grants for 2018, and still have a lot of opportunity to support good projects. We accept proposals on a rolling basis throughout the year.

To learn more about the Innovation Fund, or to apply for a grant, check out the Innovation Fund Web site http://innovationfund.comcast.com.

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