Grant Program

The Verisign infrastructure grant program, launched during the 2010 “25 Years of .com” commemoration, reflects Verisign’s commitment to sponsoring research that supports the Internet’s robust growth and development.


Without vision, hard work and creativity, the Internet would not have evolved into the global resource we know and use today. More than 25 years ago the first-ever .com was registered and has since altered the course of history to put the world at our fingertips. The Internet has changed the very fabric of how we interact, inform, conduct business, donate, educate, communicate, connect and share stories with others across the country, continent and all over the world.

The Verisign infrastructure grant program, launched during the 2010 “25 Years of .com” commemoration, reflects Verisign’s commitment to sponsoring research that supports the Internet’s robust growth and development. Verisign is expanding this program in 2012 to foster new research which advances security and stability, encourages Internet deployment and improves the Internet infrastructure overall.

Past Events Award Application 2011 Grants History
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  • Oct. 18, 2011 – Washington, DC –Internet Infrastructure Grant Symposium: An unveiling of four grantees work before an audience of business leaders, technologists, congressional staff and governmental officials. Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, keynoted the event, providing his own unique insight into the forces shaping the Internet’s lightning-paced evolution.
  • October 6, 2010 – Brussels, Belgium – Future of the Internet Forum: Verisign co-hosted this final 25 Years of .com event with European domain name industry leaders DENIC, Nominet and CENTR. Held a short distance from the European Commission headquarters, the event focused on the policy challenges facing the Internet from a European perspective.
  • May 26, 2010 – San Francisco, CA – .com Gala: A celebration of the Internet and its most important pioneers, the .com Gala was hosted by Emmy®-award winning comedian Dana Carvey and featured an impressive cast of Silicon Valley leaders and Internet industry heavyweights, including Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy. At the Gala, Verisign unveiled the “.com 25” – a list of the 25 most important contributors (both companies and individuals) to the rise of the Internet age.
  • March 16, 2010 – Washington, DC – Policy Impact Forum: Keynoted by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and featuring luminaries from the worlds of technology, policy and popular culture, the Policy Impact Forum sought to examine the impact of key policy decisions on the Internet’s evolution, and to explore how the changing policy landscape would affect its future.

Verisign is pleased to award two $200,000 research grants to support research that has the potential to improve the availability and security of Internet access in all parts of the world. The proposals for research topics focus on an Internet that is available and secure in all countries, supporting a range of infrastructures, given the reality that people and organizations are relying to a growing extent on mobile devices of all kinds for their connectivity. The research funding is intended to support two graduate students or equivalent for one year, plus institutional overhead.

Congratulations to our 2012 award winners:

"Downscaling Entity Registries for Poorly-Connected Environments,", submitted by Prof. Dr. Philippe Cudré-Mauroux of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and Christophe Guéret from VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands

"Converged, secure mobile communication support through infrastructure-opportunistic, DHT-based network services,", submitted by Dr. Z. Morley Mao of the University of Michigan, United States and Cui Yong of Tsinghua University, China

Applications were accepted from teams composed of researchers from accredited academic institutions, industry research labs, non-profit organizations, for-profit corporations, and governmental agencies. Applications from teams representing institutions in multiple countries were encouraged. All research outputs have been required to be released to the public domain for free and unrestricted use.

Applications were evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Relevance: The applicant(s) proposed research that supports the stated goal of the program, with a specific focus on global accessibility and/or infrastructural improvements that will benefit the developing world.
  • Innovation: The applicant(s) proposed research is innovative, novel and important. Applications are being judged based on the innovative nature of their proposed research foci and goals.
  • Feasibility: The applicant(s) demonstrated that their proposed research plan is feasible and can be fully realized within the timeframe (summer 2012 – fall 2013) allowed by the program.
  • Overall Quality: Judges are being asked to provide their overall impressions of the grant proposals, encompassing all of the aforementioned criteria, as well as any other criteria deemed relevant based on their knowledge and experience in the field.

Submissions were judged by:

The grants are intended to support research performed during the 2012-13 academic year. Awardees will present their results at a symposium in the Washington, DC area in fall 2013.

Key Dates:

January 17, 2012: Research Grant Submission Process Open
April 5, 2012: Research Grant Submissions Due
July 2, 2012: Announce Research Awards
May 22, 2013: Research Due
Fall 2013: Research Presented at DC area Symposium

In honor of the 25th anniversary of .com, Verisign launched an Internet Infrastructure Grant Program in 2010 to foster new research, advance security and stability, and improve the Internet infrastructure for the next 25 years.

Each $75,000 research grant was designed to assist those with the promise to shape the next quarter century of .com through improvements to Internet security, infrastructure, applications or internationalization.

Institutions and non-profit groups from around the world submitted proposals and a total of four research projects were commissioned in spring 2011.

Shlomi Dolev, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (Internationalization of the Internet)
Anil Madhavapeddy, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (Domain Name System Security)
Phillip Brighten Godfrey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Infrastructure Applications)
Z. Morley Mao, University of Michigan (Internet Infrastructure)

On March 15, 1985, Symbolics, Inc., a computer manufacturer based in Cambridge, MA, registered symbolics.com, the world’s first .com address. Prior to this, the Internet was largely a project driven by universities and computer scientists who used the network for research and communication. As more and more people and institutions began to use the network, electronic communications became increasingly challenging. Figuring out how to manually route messages through gateways was something of an art form and often not officially sanctioned. As mail loads got heavier, sometimes postmasters would ask for people to stop using their connections.

While we know that the first .com was assigned to symbolics.com on March 15, 1985, the genesis of .com is less clear. According to Craig Partridge, chief scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies, the name for domains evolved as the system was created. At first, .cor was proposed as the domain for corporations, but when the final version came out it was switched to .com. Likewise, .org was originally .pub, and .mil was originally .ddn. Other domains that came into being at the same time as .com were .edu, .gov, .net and .arpa.

Today, .com is an integral part of a technology boom that reshaped the way people work, live, play and connect with family and friends. "I don't recall anybody ever thinking we were creating an organizational structure to encompass hundreds of millions of entities covering the entire planet in support of all human activities," Jack Haverty, another Internet pioneer who was at MIT at the time, explained in another email. "And it certainly wasn't supposed to last for 30+ years, even as an experiment. It just happened to turn out that way."