UK ICO offers grants for practical privacy research

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a Grants Programme to promote and support independent, innovative research and solutions focused on privacy and data protection issues.

UK privacy solutions

Proposals do not need to be technology based but must have practical application and provide real world solutions for the UK public and organisations, the ICO stated.

The programme is open to academic institutions, civil society groups, trade and industry associations and organisations with a genuine commitment to public benefit outcomes. The scheme is open to both UK and international organisations.

“This year we are seeking privacy by design or accountability solutions which focus on key privacy challenges and the privacy implications of new technologies. Examples of technologies we are interested in include big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, social scoring and blockchain.”

They are also interested in projects that address the privacy challenges related to children and the internet.

The scheme is expected to run until 2021, during the whole duration of the current Information Commissioner’s tenure. A number of awards will be made each year of between £20,000 and £100,000 (out of a yearly budget of £250,000).

The deadline for receipt of this first round of applications is 28 July 2017.

The ICO wants to keep abreast of evolving technology

“Information Rights evolve with time. The new Grants Programme is designed to give practical research and policy a stronger voice in this evolution,” noted Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner.

“At the core of our new Information Rights Strategic Plan is the objective of promoting trust for the public. Current research shows that 75% of the public don’t trust the way that their personal data is used. I want to see that number reduce and that requires evidence of what is causing the problem and well considered ideas for how to address it.”

With the Grants Programme, the ICO aims to develop existing privacy research capacity in academic and not-for-profit sectors, increase awareness of privacy enhancing solutions with data controllers across the UK, and promote the uptake and application of research results by relevant stakeholders (including policy makers).