Welcome to the Helix Community Grant Program

Thank you to everyone who submitted proposals for this year's round of funding! We are pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2003 Helix Community Grants:

2003 Grant Program Overview

Proposals are no longer being accepted for the 2003 Grant Program. Below please find details on the 2003 Grant Program, & stay tuned for details on future rounds of funding. To receive periodic updates, join the Grant Program mailing list.

RealNetworks® and the Helix Community are pleased to present the Helix Community Grant Program, a significant commitment to reward and support digital media innovation within the Helix Community. Interested parties are invited to submit advanced research and implementation proposals as well as creative "outside the box" ideas for our first round of grant selection this fall, 2003.

The grant program will ensure the Helix DNA platform incorporates cutting edge research advances and has the widest extensibility. This program welcomes ground-breaking research proposals, inventive implementations and creative project ideas from independent developers, the academic and research communities or any non-profit or commercial enterprise engaged in digital media research and development.

Click here to nominate an individual for the Helix Community Grant Review Board.

Thank you for your interest in the Helix Community Grant Program!

Program Description

The Helix Community Grant Program invites proposals to develop solutions for IP transmission of streaming data over terrestrial and wireless networks. We seek technical solutions that will improve the quality of delivery over networks, expand the functionality available to digital media users, and extend the Helix DNA platform to new devices, platforms and operating systems.

Why Participate?

  • Win financial support - RealNetworks will fund the most promising proposals, and plans to award up to $75,000 in 2003
  • Innovate now - Helix Community Grant Program offers a rare opportunity for long-horizon projects that will shape the future of digital media
  • Earn academic credit - Research and development conducted as part of the Helix Community Grant Program may serve as the basis of an advanced degree

Why Does Helix Community Make Grants?

Reinforcing the efforts of RealNetworks and the Helix Community to develop and extend the Helix DNA platform, the first open, multi-format digital media platform, the Helix Community Grant Program will support the most promising innovations from developers and the global research community.

We expect the Helix Community Grant Program to attract top open source developers and research talent to the Helix Community. This program is a fantastic opportunity for C++ developers to extend the Helix DNA platform in exciting new directions. By funding ground-breaking research, inventive implementations and creative digital media projects, we can support those who are as excited about the future of digital media delivery as we are.

What Areas of Focus Interest Helix Community?

  • Advanced research topics - Leading edge research and development in the areas of distributed digital media delivery, including media adaptation, wireless multimedia systems, and media delivery protocols
  • Solutions to implementation gaps - Extend support for the Helix DNA platform to additional operating systems, codecs and devices
  • Creative projects - Dazzle RealNetworks and the Helix Community with your development ingenuity and take the Helix DNA platform in new directions

Who Is Eligible to Apply?

  • Independent open source developers - You need not be affiliated with any employer or organization to apply, but you will need a clear track record or established reputation in the open source community with references, projects and/or publications to your credit
  • Universities and other academic institutions - Faculty members and the students under their purview from U.S.-based academic institutions recognized by the Council of the Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education may apply. International academic institutions must provide their accreditation details
  • Research institutions - Industry-recognized research organizations are eligible to apply
  • Non-profit organizations - U.S.-based organizations must be tax-exempt, non-profit organizations in compliance with the definition in Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service code. International agencies must have legal recognition as a non-profit for tax purposes in their home country
  • Commercial enterprises - Publicly or privately held companies may submit proposals

What Is the Process?

  • Call for Proposals - The Helix Community Grant Program will issue an open call for proposals to eligible applicants. After this announcement, we recommend that interested applicants join the mailing list at grants@open.helixcommunity.org to ask questions and stay informed of any updates. Applicants will have six weeks to submit their proposal and all required legal waivers. Please see "How Do I Apply?" for a complete list of application requirements.
  • Application Deadline - All proposals and required legal waivers must be received by midnight PST on Friday, Oct. 3, 2003 to be considered for the current round of funding.
  • Application Review - A review board composed of Helix Community staff, RealNetworks' core development team and community-nominated board members will review all applications over a 60-day period. During this period, you may be contacted by telephone, email or an in-person visit should the review committee determine that further information and verification are required. Applications will be evaluated based on the criteria established in "How Do I Apply?"
  • Announcement of Selected Recipients - The Helix Community Grant Program will contact you directly to notify you if you have received a grant. All other applicants will receive notification by email. The Helix Community Grant Program will publicize its awards in a press release, at www.helixcommunity.org and in any other venue it deems appropriate.
  • Signing Grant Terms & Conditions and Contributor Agreement - Grant recipients will be asked to sign a standard contract guaranteeing the delivery and completion of any agreed upon research and development deliverables. The Contributor Agreement permits Helix Community to distribute your code under appropriate licenses.
  • Disbursal of Grants - The Helix Community Grant Program will issue payment in the form of a check or wire transfer to the grant recipients. In the case of universities, research institutions and non-profit organizations with funded positions, payment will be made prior to receipt of the deliverables. Independent open source developers and commercial entities will be paid upon completion and delivery of proposed work products.

How Do I Apply?

To apply for the grant, you will need to prepare a written proposal according to the proposal guidelines.

Criteria for Evaluation of Proposals

  • Impact on Digital Media Eco-System -- The Helix Community Grant Program will favor those proposals that will clearly increase the consumption and ubiquity of digital media. In short, the greater the impact, the better the proposal.
  • Demonstrated Commitment to Helix Community -- Applicants who have shown an interest and commitment to the Helix Community through their involvement will be regarded more highly. Better still are proposals that take into account community feedback.
  • Appeal to Open Source Community -- On balance, we will weigh more heavily proposals that are sure to ignite interest among the open source developer community and spark widespread collaboration.
  • Commercial Applicability of Research -- Proposed research need not have a commercial application. In fact, the results of your proposal may only benefit the academic or open source developer communities. However, as a measure of a project's utility, we will take into account whether the research conducted could result in credible and viable commercial applications.
  • Originality of Concept -- Our program is designed to encourage thinking outside of the box. Incredible ideas come from all over, and you should view this as an opportunity to unleash your creativity. If you aren't the inventive type, don't be discouraged. We welcome strong implementations too.
  • Evidence of Applicant's Ability to Achieve Proposed Results -- The reputation, demonstrated competencies and track record of the individual or institution applying is key. Please bear this in mind when preparing your application and proposal.
  • Plan for Promulgating Research Results -- We are interested in your proposals that will excite the wider academic and open source communities. We will seriously consider your plans for sharing your end product or research results beyond the Helix Community. Please identify conferences, journals or other publications, open source and developer events and websites where your work will appear after its completion.

Proposal Guidelines

In 2003 we will accept grant requests up to the entire available pool of $75,000. We expect to receive many more proposals than we can possibly fund. Applications for the Helix Community Grant Program are being accepted until midnight PST on Friday, October 3, 2003.


There are no geographic restrictions on who may apply for these grants. We cannot accept proposals from immediate family members of Helix Community staff or RealNetworks employees. We will not be able to review any proposals marked "Confidential" or "Proprietary." All research and end products must be completed by June 30, 2004.

Your written proposal, excluding schedules and supplementary documentation, should be no longer than 1,500 words. The proposal should contain a complete description of your research plan, implementation and/or end product. You should also speak to how your proposal matches all of the criteria identified in Criteria for Evaluating Proposals. Please submit this proposal as a Microsoft Word attachment in email to grants@helixcommunity.org. Please include your name or the name of your organization in the subject line of the email.

Please include the following information in your proposal:

  1. Contact information for yourself or your organization, including contact name and title; organization name and, if applicable, project or program name; mailing address; phone; fax; e-mail address; and web site address.
  2. Please specify the name of the principal investigator or lead researcher for the proposal. In the case of universities, we require the name of the faculty member overseeing the research. Other organizations will need to identify the individual with legal authority to commit to grant conditions. Independent developers who submit a proposal must accept legal responsibility for fulfillment of grant conditions.
  3. Please include resume(s) of the principal investigator and team members involved in the project. Either the written proposal or the resumes included should demonstrate a record of accomplishment in the area of research, industry recognition and any identifiable works the review committee may reference. .
  4. State the amount that you are requesting from the Helix Community Grant Program and explain specifically what it would be spent on. If the grant request is to fund part of a project, please tell us where the remaining funds will come from.
  5. Please include a schedule with clear milestones and delivery dates as these will be part of any grant's terms and conditions.
  6. Please indicate what if any assistance you will require from the Helix Community to complete your proposal.
  7. If you represent a U.S.-based non-profit organization, state whether the organization has its 501(c)(3) IRS tax status and provide its tax ID number. If a non-U.S. organization, please state its status as a charitable entity in accordance with the laws of that country.
  8. If you represent an academic institution, please state which accreditation(s) your institution holds.
  9. Please state how you learned about the Helix Community Grant Program.

We greatly appreciate your taking the time to participate, and we thank you for your interest in the Helix Community Grant Program.