11 Nov 2020

ONTOCHAIN has started the 1st of September 2020, interview with Caroline Barelle, the project coordinator.

Caroline Barellle


As coordinator of the ONTOCHAIN project, launched under the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative, what is your perspective on the future of Internet?

More than ever, our digital life is an extension of our physical world.  It is now possible for citizen from all over the world to participate in the generation and use of knowledge like never before. However, from the current standpoint and when it comes to exchange of knowledge, Internet can’t assure that bias or systematic abuse of global trust are avoided. The way knowledge is actually generated, curated and stored raises effectively some concerns.  The concentration of information into the hands of few widely used internet services, makes citizens everywhere at risk of being presented partial or biased information reflecting the viewpoint of their provider.

It is thus time from now on, to handle our digital life with the same critical, moral and ethical thinking that we use in our physical world. The internet of the future should be more resilient, trustworthy and sustainable. The Next Generation Initiative of which is now part the ONTOCHAIN innovation action, intends to re-shape the Internet in that way and in particular into a more human-centric network focusing on values of privacy, collaboration, diversity and more broadly on human rights. If the objective is laudable, there is still a great deal of work to be done to make it happen.

In this context, what will be the ONTOCHAIN contribution?

ONTOCHAIN will contribute to a more human-centered Internet and foster new opportunities in the data market by enabling the co-design, development and implementation of a new generation of trustful and decentralized web applications, federating blockchain and semantic technologies for different application domains such as eScience, eEducation, eHealth, eGovernment, eCommerce, eTourism, eInfrastructures and so on.

Factually, ONTOCHAIN empowers internet innovators to co-develop with us this novel software ecosystem for trusted, traceable and transparent ontological blockchain-based knowledge management through equity free funding and a budget to be distributed of 4,2M€, through mentoring, top infrastructure access, visibility and promotion. With ONTOCHAIN around 50 high level innovators and developers will have the resources to transform the Internet towards a more human-centric network.

Who are you looking to involve in the project?

We are calling for all Internet researchers, innovators and developers from high tech companies, academia or even natural person(s) that ambition to advance and federate blockchain and semantic technologies to enable a more distributed and transparent Internet, a more human-centered Internet, an Internet that respects and promotes the fundamental values of diversity, equality, privacy and participation.

What makes ONTOCHAIN stand out among other initiatives aiming at building the internet of the future?

ONTOCHAIN is one innovation action under the NGI initiative umbrella. This is the one that targeted the specific topic of blockchain for the Next Generation Internet in particular for trusted, traceable and transparent ontological knowledge. At the end, ONTOCHAIN will deliver a complete software ecosystem and novel, ambitious Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) applications, hence decentralized and trustful, i.e. demonstrating trustworthy content and trustworthy information handling.

What are your expectations for ONTOCHAIN? And what will define its success?

With ONTOCHAIN, we expect that a variety of innovating applications will emerge in areas such as trustworthy web and social media, trustworthy crowdsensing, trustworthy service orchestration, as well as decentralised and unsupervised online social networks. ONTOCHAIN will be successful if these applications are widely and sustainably adopted by vital sectors of the European economy. That is our intention!