New Funding Opportunities to Continue Innovating in Latin America and the Caribbean
Alexandra Dans – LACNIC Cooperation Officer
In response to the region’s needs and demands, LACNIC has signed a new agreement that will allow continuing the work carried out by the Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FRIDA), a program that, since 2004, has financed more than 50 innovative projects in the field of ICTs in 15 different countries around the region. The agreement signed with IDRC of Canada means that funding will be available for three more years, in addition to a global alliance with ISIF, a sister initiative by APNIC that operates in the Asia-Pacific region, and the creation of a similar program by AfriNIC to serve the African region.
This alliance will allow joining forces for generating networks and capabilities and improving the work carried out by each program within their own regions.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, this year the program will continue to have two annual calls for proposals: one for research projects, the other for the FRIDA 2012 Award.
Alexandra Dans, currently in charge of the FRIDA program, provided further details about the new plans and the organizations that may apply to receive these funds.
What is the FRIDA Program and what does it represent for Latin America and the Caribbean?
FRIDA is the Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is an initiative started by LACNIC (the Regional Internet Addresses Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean) in 2004 and which to this day receives financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and the Internet Society (ISOC). The program aims at contributing to the development of the Information Society within our region by funding research projects (providing small grants) and by recognizing innovative initiatives in the use of ICTs for development through its annual FRIDA Award.
Since its early days in 2004, the program has held five calls for proposals in which almost 900 research teams from more than 20 different countries around the region participated and through which 50 initiatives from 15 different countries received financial support. The Program has sought to provide an answer to the low levels of investment in research initiatives by injecting more than 1.2 million US dollars into our region.
Likewise, the FRIDA Award held its first call for nominations in 2010 and, along with the 2011 call for nominations, attracted more than 300 proposals from 34 countries around the region. In all, 15 initiatives received an award, first within the framework of the eLAC 2010 goals and later within the framework of the Internet governance issues discussed at the 2011 Internet Governance Forum.
How will the Program work in 2012?
Starting in 2012 and for a period of three years, the FRIDA Program will join ISIF –a sister program run by APNIC that has been operating since 2008 in the Asia-Pacific region– to create a global alliance aimed at supporting local and regional projects that will introduce, improve, and apply Internet technology in benefit of each region. The alliance will also seek to support the creation of another similar program in Africa within the framework of the activities of the African region’s IP Address Registry (AfriNIC). Although the global alliance will manage separate funds for each region, a series of collaborative efforts will be implemented such as generating networks and capabilities and evaluating the global work of the alliance and of each program.
In our region the working methodology will continue as in previous years. Two annual calls for proposals will be made: a call for proposals for research initiatives and a call for nominations for the 2012 FRIDA Award.
Who can participate?
Depending on the specific call for proposals (FRIDA Award candidates or research project proposals), participation is open to Latin American and Caribbean organizations that wish to begin research projects on the priority issues defined on the program’s website (www.programafrida.net), as well as to organizations of the region that would like to propose a project they have already implemented and is in its final stages of development, to receive a recognition in one of the categories defined in the call for nominations. All research projects and initiatives must fall within the framework of the priority topics that have been defined (Information and Communication Technologies for development) and be presented by organizations within the Latin America and Caribbean region.