July 28, 2022 | Funding for the OpenWebSearch.EU project

Research partners lay the groundwork for European search engines

  • Fourteen research and computing centres are endeavouring to facilitate effective web searching in compliance with EU regulations.
  • The international OpenWebSearch.EU project is initially planned to run for three years.
  • Focus: Digitalisation, innovation

The OpenWebSearch.EU project is aimed at developing an open European infrastructure for web search. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is working with 13 European research and computing centres on the project, which is intended to strengthen Europe's digital sovereignty and promote an open and fair search engine market.

"Digitalisation is becoming increasingly important in all areas of society. Unrestricted access to information online, uninfluenced by the major commercial network monopolies, is necessary. Europe has the requisite expertise and computing power. By bringing them together in a skilful way, we can lay the digital groundwork for a multitude of European search engines. The OpenWebSearch.EU project is an important initial step in that direction," says Stefan Voigt, manager of the OpenSearch@DLR project at the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD). The findings from DLR’s project will flow into the European initiative. OpenSearch@DLR also focuses on making the enormous quantities of online data more accessible through unbiased searching and facilitating the provision of scientific data and information.

Data centres combine efforts to index the web

Over the next three years, the organisations partnering in the OpenWebSearch.EU project will develop the core of an Open Web Index (OWI) for Europe. Data centres will make their computing capacities available for this purpose and work together to index the internet. The OWI will serve as the foundation for new forms of internet search. The project partners are devising an open and expandable European infrastructure for web search and analysis, based on European values, standards and legislation. Web search is currently dominated by a few search engine providers. Information and knowledge are not truly accessible as public assets at the moment.

About the project

The OpenWebSearch.EU project is funded with 8.5 million euros from the EU’s Horizon Europe research framework programme (No. 101070014). The 14 partners will initially work together for a period of three years.

In addition to DLR, the following institutions are involved: University of Passau (Germany); Leibniz Supercomputing Centre of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Germany); Radboud University (Netherlands); University of Leipzig (Germany); Graz University of Technology (Austria); VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, IT4Innovations (Czech Republic); European Organisation for Nuclear Research – CERN (Switzerland); Open Search Foundation (Germany); A1 Slovenija, telekomunikacijske storitve, d. d. (Slovenia); CSC-Tieteen Tietotekniikan Keskus Oy (Finland); Stichting Nlnet (Netherlands); Bauhaus University, Weimar (Germany); and SUMA-EV, a non-profit association for free access to knowledge (Germany).


Denise Nüssle

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart
Tel: +49 711 6862-8086

Stefan Voigt

Project Manager OpenSearch@DLR
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD)
Geo-Risks and Civil Security
Münchner Straße 20, 82234 Weßling