Wikipedia search as a standalone project
Disclaimer: I'm a senior research scientist at Wikimedia Foundation. The comments I provide below are not representing the Foundation's view on your proposal, they do represent my views based on the understandings I have at my capacity as a Foundation employee. You can consider this as one data-point to the pool of comments you may receive.
Thanks for the proposal and the research and development you've done in this space. I'm not sure why improving search on Wikipedia should be considered as a standalone project. I can see the benefits of two kinds of efforts: 1) building a stronger search engine that can help users explore pretty much /all/ of Wikimedia projects. 2) Improving Wikipedia (or any other Wikimedia project's search). The former is not what your current state of the proposal and the phase you're at (enwiki) are suggesting and the latter doesn't need a project. Independently, there is a Wikimedia Movement strategy effort going on at the moment, and committing to big initiatives such as starting a new project can be distracting to that effort and how we mobilize once the strategy is finalized. --LZia (WMF) (talk) 17:52, 2 June 2017 (UTC)