Comcast Innovation Fund

The Comcast Innovation Fund is no longer accepting new applications for the 2024 Grant Year. We expect to begin accepting 2025 applications in early January 2025.

The Comcast Innovation Fund was created to support technology and public policy research that contributes to the betterment of the Internet, and the continued evolution of connectivity products and services. The fund provides grants to technologists, researchers, and academics to support Internet- and connectivity-focused projects within the fund’s areas of interest, which are updated annually.

Other Programs

Information about other Comcast programs not connected to the Comcast Innovation Fund can be found here:

2024 Areas of Interest

Areas of focus for the Comcast Innovation Fund are updated annually. Projects most likely to receive Innovation Fund Grants will fall into one of these areas.

Top Areas of Interest for 2024:

  • Understanding the Internet Network through measurement:
    • Improving, especially real-time, Internet-wide measurement
    • Improved insight into working latency, end user quality of experience, comparative performance between including ISPs, Wireline access to wireless such as 5G home Internet services, WiFi Performance
    • Data driven insight into adoption, performance, and network impacts of privacy protecting proxies using the MASQUE protocol and the various new encrypted DNS protocols
  • Low Latency Networking – especially related to deployment of AQM and L4S, including measurement of the use of ECT(1) and DSCP 45
  • Improving Internet core network protocols, such as secure routing and RPKI, encrypted DNS, and adaptive DNS discovery for applications
  • Edge Computing
  • Understanding Internet Consolidation & Mechanisms for De-Centralization
  • Internet Governance and Policy Analysis – especially focused on common policy issues across countries, economic impacts, and related issues, as well as unlicensed spectrum and shared spectrum
  • Broadband Mapping – especially measuring the effectiveness & opportunities for improvement of new FCC maps and novel uses of mapping data
  • Rural Broadband – especially assessing the effectiveness and speed of subsidized rural broadband construction using a variety of different access technologies and associated issues of bringing broadband to unserved areas
  • CDNs and Video Streaming – especially low-latency live streaming, encoder improvements
  • Multi-Path Networking
  • IoT consumer labeling
  • Privacy and Security automation through both AI/ML and other techniques for:
  • Privacy threat modeling for detection & mitigation
  • Cybersecurity response and recovery
  • Privacy engineering and protection
  • Software supply chain security and integrity such as discovering malicious contributions to open-source projects

Areas out of scope for the 2024 Grant Year include:

  • Fintech, NFTs, blockchain, crypto currencies
  • Projects which focus on network simulators
  • New social media systems
  • Quantum computing

Please see our Innovation Fund annual reports for the projects we’ve funded since our opening in 2013.

Open-Source Development Grants

Open-Source Development Grants are intended to fund new or continued development of open-source software in areas of interest to Comcast or of benefit to the Internet and broadband industries. Applicants for these grants are often organizations, academic institutions, or individuals.

General and Target Research Grants

General Research Grants provide unrestricted award of funds to support researchers, usually at colleges and universities. These grants are focused on supporting excellent technical research in a wide variety of fields that are relevant to the evolution of the Internet.

Targeted Research Grants are more narrowly tailored and typically study more specific issues. Applicants for these grants often come from organizations, academic institutions, and occasionally individuals.

Useful & Interesting Things Grants

We also fund work that contributes to the Internet in novel and useful ways. This includes individuals who are working on ideas, technologies, or approaches that are useful and valuable to the Internet. Sometimes it’s a conference that’s being organized, or a new piece of hardware that’s being invented. Either way, it helps advance the growth of the Internet and the Internet Community.

Annual Reports

Application Instructions

The Comcast Innovation Fund uses grant management software from Fluid Review to manage each stage of the application process. Before applying we recommend you read the guidance we have provided below. When you are ready to apply, you will need to:

  1. Create a Comcast Innovation Fund account.
  2. Create and submit a grant application form.

Get Started — Covering the Basics

The application process for a Comcast Innovation Fund grant is designed to be quick and easy.

  • You’ll need to tell us about the leader researchers/principal investigators, including a CV or resume for the researcher or developer. Each CV should not exceed two pages
  • Selected the type of grant you are seeking
  • Describe the project, what area it is in, and what it will accomplish
  • If your research would benefit from access to Comcast’s confidential data, please submit a data management statement outlining how any such Comcast confidential data would be used and protected. It is important that any data is anonymized, so no individuals or entities are identifiable because of the research. Comcast will consider these requests in due course but is under no obligation to provide access to any data. If Comcast elects to provide any data access in connection with this program, such access will be contingent on signing a data access agreement in the form specified by Comcast
  • Basic details of the proposed use of the grant and the total amount of the proposed grant. We anticipate grants being in the $3,000-$150,000 USD range
  • Do not submit any materials you believe are confidential, because you have no expectation of confidentiality in the submission process except with respect to your personally identifiable information
  • Finally, please specify any previously funded Comcast research that you may have conducted and include results, published articles, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are these expected to be one-year or two-year projects?

We only support one-year projects. We will sometimes consider multi-year projects but will only fund one phase at a time with no guarantee of continued funding. Projects are always welcome to submit additional proposals for funding.

Do you have any limitations on how the budget is used or on indirect costs? Can we put administrative overhead for the university in as “other” expenses (e.g., paid faculty such as researchers and assistants, overhead costs for the university, etc.)?

The proposal needs to describe how the budget is going to be used, so we cannot support indirect costs. Overhead pay and “other expenses” is not permissible. Please put the faculty and research assistants into one figure.

Are funds open to applicants outside the United States of America?

Yes. Grant funds are available globally to researchers both within and outside the U.S. 

What time of year does the fund accept new submissions?

Funding is done annually starting in January and continues until the year’s fund is exhausted. Once the final applications for the year have been approved, we close out any remaining proposals that have been submitted.

Applicants are welcome to create and submit a new application when the next funding year opens.

Do Comcast Innovation Fund gifts require Purchase Orders (POs)?

POs are not required. However, you must create and submit an invoice and sign other paperwork, such as an acknowledgement of the grant.

How to Write a Successful Grant Proposal

Your proposal will be reviewed by the Innovation Fund Steering Committee at Comcast, representing a wide range of disciplines and functions. Below are some suggestions to help you create an effective proposal.

Impact Is Important

As part of our evaluation of proposals we consider the impact the project would have, if successful. Will it solve a problem that is vexing Internet providers or users? Will it be something that is widely adopted? Will it shift current practices in an improved, better direction?

Be specific about what you want to achieve

Your proposal should include a clear and well-defined problem statement. Clearly state what you want to achieve and how you will do so. Also, let us know if the funding you seek is part of a larger project, or one which is funded elsewhere. This is not necessarily an impediment, but it is important for us to know.

State how the funding will be used and why your proposal should be chosen

Describe the potential outcome of your research or development, including what specific areas require funding and how the funding will be applied. For example, will your research provide incremental progress along a given technical trajectory, or is it revolutionary? Likewise, if your proposal relates to open-source, please indicate when the software will be available, how widely might it be used or distributed (and whether it scales), which open-source license governs the software, and whether you are a project committer resourced to contribute code. Also, explain any best/worst-case outcomes.

Explain how your work is different or unique relative to the state-of-the-art in your field of R&D

While your ideas may be clear to you, please bear in mind that the individuals who review your application may not be experts in your specific field. Therefore, it is critical to provide an explanation that helps both experts and non-experts understand what your research can offer that’s not already out there.

Explain how you will carry out the research or development

In addition to clearly identifying the problem you plan to investigate, it will be beneficial to describe how you intend to carry out the research or development. In doing so, please identify the risks you may encounter, and how you might mitigate them. In R&D, failure is often a form of progress, so it’s important to record the challenges you encounter in your work.

Comcast Liaisons

In the event you are selected to receive a grant, Comcast may assign an internal project liaison to interface with you. If you have worked with Comcast technical personnel on related research or technical projects, please feel free to identify such personnel as potential liaisons in your submission.

All of the above matters

As you draft your proposal, remember that you are selling an idea. Be complete, but refrain from providing an amount of detail that may bog down individual and group reviews. Be enthusiastic. It can be contagious, and you want the review committee to be enthusiastic, too. 

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