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EU-project OpenWebSearch.EU: Europe's Independence in Web Search

EU-project OpenWebSearch.EU: Europe's Independence in Web Search

For the OpenWebSearch.EU project, University of Passau has joined forces with 13 other renowned European research centres to develop an open European infrastructure for web search. The project will be contributing to Europe’s digital sovereignty as well as promoting an open human-centred search engine market. The European Commission has now approved the project's Horizon Europe funding of 8.5 million euros.

“Free, open and unbiased access to information – we have lost these core principles in web search and urgently need to restore them. This is why we will create an open European infrastructure for internet search, based on European values and jurisdiction”, says Professor Michael Granitzer of University Passau and Open Search Foundation, project coordinator of OpenWebSearch.EU.

Over the next three years the researchers will develop the core of a European Open Web Index (OWI) as a basis for a new Internet Search in Europe. In addition, the project will set the foundation for an open and extensible European open Web Search and Analysis Infrastructure (OWSAI), based on Europe’s values, principles, legislation and standards.

“Digital Sovereignty is a central item on the research agenda of our university. OpenWebSearch.EU allows us to set a first, very important step to achieve this sovereignty for web search”, says Professor Ulrich Bartosch, president of University of Passau. “It complements our efforts to establish a research network in IT security and extends our European research network in digitalisation. I very much appreciate the success of Professor Granitzer and his team.”

The project has its origins in concerns over the imbalance of the search engine market. Despite being a backbone of our digital economy, web search is dominated and limited by a few gatekeepers like Google, Microsoft, Baidu or Yandex. Thus, information as public good, with free, unbiased and transparent access is not under public control anymore. This imbalance endangers democracy and limits the innovative potential of Europe's research landscape and economy.

OpenWebSearch.EU’s strong multi-disciplinary consortium of 14 European partners is convinced that “the open web search infrastructure will not only contribute to Europe’s sovereignty for navigating and searching the web. It will benefit us all as citizens. Based on our own preferences, we will finally have a real choice again when choosing search engines.”

OpenWebSearch.EU is the first project the EU has funded to get tomorrow's web search up and running. It will kick off in September 2022. The 14 partner institutions will initially cooperate over a time-frame of three years. The project has received funding of 8.5 million euros from the European Union’s Horizon research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101070014.

List of project partners

1.      University of Passau, Germany

2.      Leibniz Supercomputing Centre of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Germany

3.      Stichting Radboud Universiteit, Netherlands

4.      Leipzig University, Germany

5.      Technische Universität Graz, Austria

6.      Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Germany

7.      VSB - Technical University of Ostrava, IT4Innovations, Czech Republic

8.      European Organization for Nuclear Research – CERN, Switzerland

9.      Open Search Foundation, Germany

10.   A1 Slovenija, telekomunikacijske storitve, d. d., Slovenia

11.   CSC-Tieteen Tietotekniikan Keskus Oy, Finland

12.   Stichting Nlnet, Netherlands

13.   Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany

14.   SuMa e.V. - Verein für freien Wissenszugang, Germany


About Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. It aims to build a knowledge- and innovation-based society and a competitive economy while contributing to sustainable development. The programme contributes to the implementation of the European Commission's guidelines.

Photograph: Composition by, using images by NASA (europe_dnb_2012_lrg.jpg), Unsplash (christopher-burns-dzejyfCAzIA-unsplash), OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay (1293096)

More information:


Principal Investigator(s) at the University Prof. Dr. Michael Granitzer (Lehrstuhl für Data Science)
Project period 01.09.2022 - 31.08.2025
Website ""
Source of funding
Europäische Union (EU) > EU - 9. Forschungsrahmenprogramm (Horizon Europe)
Europäische Union (EU) > EU - 9. Forschungsrahmenprogramm (Horizon Europe)
Funding notice

"Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or Horizon Europe. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them."

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