Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) Fund 2023

Deadline: July 31, 2023

Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) Fund 2023

The Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) Fund 2023 aims to strengthen sustainability and resilience and increase the adoption of open infrastructure that underpins research and knowledge creation.

Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) is excited to announce our upcoming funding call for the Open Infrastructure Fund, which marks the next step in our Collective Funding Pilot. This call will provide funding to projects that support the development of open research infrastructure services, with the aim of strengthening sustainability and resilience and increasing the adoption of open infrastructure that underpins research and knowledge creation.

Open Infrastructure Fund (pilot) at a glance:

  • Areas: capacity building, strengthening community governance, critical shared infrastructure
  • Where you are based: anywhere in the world *; 60% of these funds are reserved for individuals and organizations in Low and Middle Income Economies (LMIEs) and/or services that are widely adopted by communities in LMIEs.
  • Level of funding: 5,000-25,000 USD
  • Duration of award: projects of any duration up to 2 years, starting between November 1 and December 31, 2023.

This pilot and call for proposals is the next step in our journey towards increasing investment and adoption of open infrastructure, which has been a goal since our founding.

The journey has included the following efforts: our work with the infrastructure and research community via the Future of Open Scholarshiphidden costs of open infrastructure, and regional research projects, the conversations at our Funders Summit last year and at recent events we’ve co-organized and participated in in Accra, Ghana, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the design survey we conducted in the past weeks, These initiatives have given us an initial sense of some of the conditions necessary for open infrastructure to become the default in research and scholarship. This call for proposals is centered around three areas that we and those who contributed to these conversations view as necessary to advance an open infrastructure landscape. This call for proposals also specifically addresses ideas and regions that we see as often under-resourced by conventional funding models.

We believe that determinations regarding what counts as core needs for open infrastructure services and how these needs should be met need to be made in concert with the communities most impacted by these determinations. In this pilot, we’ve focussed not only on what we fund, but equally, the how. We are building on and inspired by the work of many others in this space who have been working towards building more transparent and equitable funding mechanisms, including the Open and Equitable Model Funding Program, the Open Grant Reviewers program, the Event Fund, and the Equitable Funding Practice Library. Our aim is also to explore ways to enhance access to funding for applicants in LMIEs and drive investment towards a more representative and accessible ecosystem.

What we fund

In this call for proposals, we are funding projects in the following three areas.

  1. Capacity building to improve the technical reliability and security of open infrastructure services. This includes activities such as but not limited to:
    • Creating and updating documentation to make it easier to onboard new contributors, maintainers, and users.
    • Training institutional staff and users on implementing and using (a new version of) the infrastructure.
    • Organizing events to strengthen relationships/networks among contributors, maintainers, and/or user communities.
  2. Strengthening community governance of open infrastructure services. Funding can be used to set up and/or strengthen governance structures and bodies to ensure that the infrastructure service acts in accordance with its values of openness, transparency and accountability. This includes activities such as but not limited to:
    • Organizing community workshops to discuss governance needs and (re)design governance structures.
    • Convene a dedicated committee/working group of key stakeholders to lead work on diversifying governance.
    • Work on improving governance processes, e.g. reviewing and evolving bylaws and other policies.
  3. Critical shared infrastructure. Funding can be used for efforts that would push people to directly collaborate across and work with existing systems, including but not limited to:
    • Shared technical development across two or more open infrastructure teams to enhance interoperability.
    • Adaptation and customization of existing infrastructure service(s) to serve a local community’s needs, including language localization.

The total amount of funding for each area was determined through a participatory funding mechanism during our Funders Summit last year, as follows:

  • Capacity building ($32,056)
  • Strengthening community governance ($40,467)
  • Critical shared infrastructure ($57,477)

We recognize that project scopes can span more than one of the above funding areas. In the application form, we ask applicants to choose the area that their project aligns best with.

Additionally, we are committed to carving out at least 60% of total funds for individuals and organizations working in Low and Middle Income Economies (LMIEs), and/or services that are widely adopted by communities in LMIEs.

How are we defining “open infrastructure” for this call?

We look to the definition of digital open infrastructure services articulated in the UNESCO Open Science Declaration, and are especially interested in the following:

  • Not-for-profit and non-commercial platforms and services that further access to and participation in research;
  • Open source technologies that employ open standards, utilize open protocols;
  • Offerings that encourage use and re-use of content, data, and underlying code with minimal restriction.

We recognize that providers and communities may meet the above requirements in different ways and to different extents. Projects will be scored on degree of openness, engagement with and utility to the communities they serve, and degree of need. All are encouraged to apply — see this section for the evaluation criteria.

Eligibility – Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) Fund 2023

About the applicant(s)

  • Applicants may apply as individuals or as representatives of an organization, but must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Applicants can apply as individuals or as a team.
  • Applicants can be based anywhere in the world, except Russia, China, North Korea, and Cuba. The US and European governments have sanctions on financial relationships with organizations and people in these countries. As a result, our banks and financial service providers have wholly prohibited any payments to these countries. With uncertainty about how sanctions will impact this grant program later this year, and the inability to provide payment, we cannot support grants to regions under these sanctions.
  • Applicants can submit multiple applications.
  • IOI staff, including employees and current contractors, are not permitted to apply.
  • We welcome applications from open infrastructure service providers, as well as those who are supporting and using open infrastructure services, e.g. institutions, communities of practice, etc. For more on how we’re defining open infrastructure, please see the section above.
  • We welcome applications from both new and long-established organizations, and from individuals who are new to the space as well as those who have been long-time contributors.
  • All applications will be openly reviewed on OpenReview. By submitting an application, the applicant agrees to their proposals being publicly accessible and publicly reviewed.
  • All applications require a point of contact who will commit to reporting back on the progress and impact of the award to the IOI team.
  • Applicants must abide by local laws that apply to their activities based on their residence.

About the projects

  • Projects can be of any duration up to 2 years, with a start date between November 1 and December 31, 2023.
  • Projects can be based on a proposal that has been submitted for other sources of funding.
  • Projects will be evaluated on degrees of openness. We recommend that infrastructure providers review our criteria for the Catalog of Open Infrastructure Services for guidance.
  • Projects should strive to be as maximally open, accessible, and reusable with minimal restriction as possible, utilizing open licenses.
  • Projects must not discriminate with regard to race, sex, education, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, ability/disability, sexual orientation, gender self-identification, age, country of origin, first language, marital status, or citizenship.
  • Projects seeking to support political campaigns, lobbying activities (in line with IRS guidelines), religious proselytizing, or promotion of violence or terrorism will not be funded.
  • Projects are encouraged to share their progress regularly openly and, where applicable, to use open licenses (e.g. Creative Commons, MIT), for project output.
  • Budget: Projects can request funding between 5,000 and 25,000 USD total cost, using this budget template. Budget items may include:
    • Software and technology, e.g. software subscription, compute costs.
    • Equipment and supplies, e.g. costs for mobile data and power.
    • Fees/salaries for staff/consultants, e.g. contract developers, event facilitators, legal support. In the description, please provide hourly rate and number of anticipated hours
    • Travel costs. In the description, please provide expected number of team members/others travelling, and to where (which event and/or location).
    • Honoraria, e.g. for interviewees, speakers, working group members.
    • Accessibility services, e.g. translators, closed-captioning, transcribing.
    • Indirect costs/overhead: the maximum indirect/overhead costs that can be requested is 10% of direct costs.

How to apply

You must apply through our OpenReview portal. We accept applications in English and Spanish.

Apply through OpenReview

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