by SF Team, 12 September 2017
We do not have a list of topics we are interested in funding or a call for proposals around a specific theme. Of course we have a sense of what critical problems could be addressed in the world. But an important part of the openness we practice is being open to ideas.
Below are areas in which we have already made substantial investments. If we were to invest in these further, we would look for exceptional ideas that advance the field beyond what we already know, that bring a fresh perspective or approach to addressing a specific aspect, or that radically re-imagine the concept at its core.
Open education - creating open educational materials; building platforms to hold and share materials; establishing pathways for delivery and experimenting with sustainability and access models for effectively integrating open educational resources into formal education systems.
Open government - encouraging and enabling open government data; establishing the veracity of public statements; building systems and process for more effective citizen/government engagement; and supporting citizen-led campaigns addressing important governance issues, especially around digital rights.
Open science - experimenting with alternative approaches to advancing science and its impact on society by revolutionising scholarly communications and inviting citizen participation, rooted in openness.
Telecommunications - addressing access and affordability by experimenting with mesh phone networks using both traditional and mobile handsets, establishing community owned and operated mobile phone networks (including the necessary policy, regulation and sustainability work) and combating spectrum congestion by using laser-enabled data transfer.
Health care - building affordable, easily reproducible, high quality open medical devices supported by the process for designing, manufacturing, quality assuring, distributing and using these devices effectively; assessing and mitigating the negative impact patent systems have on access to medicines.
Cultural expression - exploring web-enabled mechanisms to express culture - represented by music and history - more freely, widely and openly, for the benefit of marginalised groups and society as a whole.
The Open Web - fortifying the practices that enable us to become and remain effective citizens of the web, with specific reference to reducing friction around end-user secure communications, contributor agreements, equitable access and how knowledge resources flow.
The environment - enabling citizens to take back control of monitoring their environment, using open hardware and open data, to support conservation management, resource allocation, extractive industry regulation, food production and traditional knowledge stewardship.
If you are planning on applying and see your idea described here, pay special attention to articulating how your approach is innovative, adds value, what we might learn or discover.
There are also many areas - thematic and geographic - in which we are just getting our feet wet or have not yet found the right fit in investment. We look forward to being challenged and surprised.