FRIDA Funds: Four calls for proposals to be issued in 2016

29/10/2015

FRIDA, the Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean, is planning to open four proposal submission periods in 2016, both to acknowledge innovative proposals as well as to highlight successful ICT projects within the region.

The team in charge of the FRIDA Program —a LACNIC initiative— are finalizing details of these calls for proposals, which will be launched in the first half of the upcoming year.

It has already been decided that two FRIDA Award winners will be selected, each of which will receive a prize of USD 5,000. In addition, projects which have already received FRIDA funds will be selected to receive an additional USD 40,000 for their upscaling; a USD 25,000 grant will be presented to research projects in the fields of network operation, technical innovation and community impact; and a USD 20,000 grant will be awarded to technical initiatives seeking to contribute to IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The terms for each call will be published shortly on FRIDA’s website (http://programafrida.net/), where currently last year’s calls for proposals are puslished, some of which have similar characteristics to those planned for 2016.

Secure storage and citizen participation. This year, the FRIDA grants program selected two beneficiaries, while two projects were chosen to receive a FRIDA+ Award.

One of the USD 20,000 grants was awarded to an initiative attempting to lower secure information storage costs (Chile), while the second was presented to a project for building participative public budgets (Jamaica).

The winning Chilean proposal was submitted by NIC LABS, NIC Chile’s Internet and Telecommunications Research Lab. This is a project by the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of Universidad de Chile which seeks to determine ways to reduce costs and increase competition in the secure information storage market thorough the development of a new software tool.

In case of Jamaica, FRIDA presented the award to a project submitted by the Centre of Excellence for IT-Enabled Solutions of the Business School of the University of the West Indies. This research project evaluates the potential impact of using Open Data and applying international standards to the process of defining public budgets in a participative manner, thus making the budgeting process more efficient and increasing citizen participation.

Affordable Internet access and telepsychiatry. The first FRIDA+ Award was presented to a community network providing Internet access in an area of the province of Cordoba (Argentina) where there was little or no Internet access. The second was presented to a novel model for providing psychiatric care for prison inmates with the help of ICTs (Caldas, Colombia).

The project for providing Internet access in Cordoba was led by Civil Association Alter Mundi of Argentina. In addition to a cash prize of USD 3,000, this initiative received additional funds for a total of USD 6,000 to continue working on the project, as it was determined to be the most creative submission. In response to a lack of interest on the part of traditional providers, this initiative built a digital community network for providing communication services in Jose de la Quintana (Cordoba, Argentina) (Internet and fixed/mobile telephony).

Winners also included a Colombian project titled “Tele-Psychiatry in the Prison System,” which was led by a group of researchers from the School of Health Sciences of Universidad de Caldas. This project’s goal was to develop a model for providing telepsychiatry services in detention centers (prisons and penitentiaries).

A book about FRIDA. The FRIDA+ Awards ceremony will be held at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which will take place in Joao Pessoa (Brazil) on 10-13 November. During this event, FRIDA and its SEED Alliance partners will be holding a workshop on funding opportunities for award recipients and members of the Latin American and Caribbean community (http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/workshop-proposals/list-of-published-workshop-proposals).

Likewise, the book titled “FRIDA 10 Years” which documents the program’s impact throughout the region over its 10 year history will be presented at the IGF.

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