May 21, 2006

Mellon Foundation invites nominations for open source awards

Author: Nathan Willis

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is seeking nominations for a new set of awards to recognize individuals and organizations contributing to open source software. The Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (MATC), as they are called, will endow the recipients with grant money to further their work. Nominations will be taken at the Foundations Web site through August 4. The site also provides a full list of criteria for nominations, including the specific fields of eligible work. Winners will be announced in December.

The Mellon Foundation makes grants in a number of areas benefiting educations, arts, and culture. The Foundation's Research in Information Technology Program directly funds a dozen open source projects and contributes to several more.

The MATC will be awarded at two levels -- $25,000 and $100,000 -- to recipients selected by an award committee. The number of awards and the number to be given at each level will be determined at the discretion of the committee once the nominations are complete.

The Foundation specifies that nominees be "making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development." Eligibility requirements also state that recipients must make their work available under an approved open source license.

The awards are intended to function as grants supporting additional work; as such the award committee is only interested in individuals and organizations operating without external resource grants. Recipients are expected to make follow-up reports to the Foundation, though the specifics of this arrangement have not yet been made public.

The award committee includes Mitchell Baker of Mozilla Corp., Tim Berners-Lee of the World Wide Web Consortium, Vinton Cerf of Google, Ira Fuchs and Donald Waters of the Mellon Foundation, John Gage of Sun, Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media, and John Brown, formerly of Xerox PARC.

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