In November TNO, FundingBox, BLUMORPHO and GRNET started a new EU-Horizon 2020 research project ‘NGI eSSIF-Lab’. The project will offer open calls for start-ups, SMEs and other innovators to further develop, integrate and adopt self-sovereign identity technologies for Europe. The first open calls are expected to begin in March 2020. What makes eSSIF-Lab different from other initiatives is that it focuses on scalable SSI-solutions that are mutually interoperable and not limited to solving a problem in just a specific domain.


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Self-sovereign identity

Self-sovereign identity (SSI) promises to empower European citizens with new means to manage privacy, to eliminate logins, and to enjoy much faster and safer electronic transactions via the internet as well as in real life. SSI promises not only to empower European organisations to speed up, secure and automate transactions with customers, suppliers and partners, resulting in annual savings of tens of billions of euros on administrative costs in Europe but also to drive a new business ecosystem with thousands of new jobs, new job categories and new business opportunities for existing and new European companies.

eSSIF-Lab project

The eSSIF-Lab project will provide business and technical support to integrate SSI technology with market propositions, and will accelerate SSI-related businesses and social applications. The outreach though the open calls and the prominent position in the emerging SSI community will enable the eSSIF-Lab consortium to advance the broad uptake of SSI as a next generation, open and trusted digital identity solution.

The project will award 62 subgrants in two types of open call: one infrastructure-oriented open call targeting technical enhancements and extensions of the SSI framework and two business-oriented open calls targeting SSI business and social innovations and applications. The infrastructure-oriented open call (open to any type of innovator) and the first business-oriented open call (limited to start-ups and SMEs) are expected to open in March 2020. 

TNO’s lead SSI scientist Rieks Joosten is excited: “While so-called SSI ‘solutions’ are popping up all over the world, the vast majority has a local scope: they solve a problem in a specific domain, are not scalable and scarcely interoperate with each other. Addressing these issues is a top priority for the eSSIF-Lab project. We invite the SSI community in Europe to come forward and apply for the open calls.”

The project receives funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, of which €5.6 m is available for subgrants. The eSSIF-Lab project will run for three years.


The eSSIF-Lab consortium is a lean consortium comprised of a combination of one RTO, one funding management organisation, one business accelerator and one organisation that offers advanced e-infrastructures and innovative services. The partners have distinct but complementary profiles, spanning the whole range of activities and areas covered within the project.

TNO (Netherlands) is the project coordinator and brings in its extensive SSI technical expertise and understanding of innovation processes to the startup/SME/innovator community targeted by the open calls. TNO has a unique position as an RTO, with a strong connections to both fundamental research, industry, SMEs and societal stakeholders. TNO has an extensive track record in H2020 project coordination.

FundingBox (Poland) manages the open calls. FundingBox is the European leader in managing Financial Support to Third Parties, having distributed up to €62 m by participating in 14 projects, including FSTP, since 2014. It has a community with over 18,000 subscribers where makers, entrepreneurs and innovators meet, interact and collaborate to build growth connections and win equity-free funding to catalyse their growth.

BLUMORPHO (France) is a business accelerator that has 20+ years of experience in building and developing successful ecosystems around innovations. It will provide business support to the start-ups that participate in the open call projects to accelerate their SSI-related business. BLUMORPHO has a large European and worldwide network, and brings in its expertise from training and developing ideas with high potential to fully-fledged business plans.

GRNET (Greece) is responsible for the ongoing deployment infrastructure in the project. GRNET is the national network, cloud computing and IT eInfrastructure and services provider. It supports hundreds of thousands of users in the key areas of Research, Education, Health and Culture.


TNO: Oskar van Deventer, scientific coordinator,
GRNET: Georgios Tsoukalas,
FundingBox: David Seoane,
BLUMORPHO: Régis Hamelin,

Meer informatie:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 871932.