FRIDA: 1.5 Million Dollars in Research Grants
The Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FRIDA), an initiative of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), has awarded more than one and a half million dollars in research grants to more than fifty projects.
This year, FRIDA received more than 40 requests for funds from different research project proposals; three projects from El Salvador, Chile and Argentina were selected to receive research grants (http://programafrida.net/grants). Lara Robledo, LACNIC’s Institutional Cooperation Coordinator, highlighted the excellent quality of the projects received in response to the 2012 call for proposals and added that the judging panel had a very difficult task choosing the three beneficiaries, each of which will receive 15 thousand US dollars to apply towards a one-year research project.
Health Care over the Internet for an Island in El Salvador. One of the selected projects was the proposal presented by Conexion El Salvador for implementing health care services over the Internet in the village of Las Coloradas, Tasajera island, department of La Paz, which was submitted under the “Accelerating access and the social benefits of the Internet in vulnerable and underserved communities” category. Led by a medical doctor, Daniel Perez, and an engineer, Amilcar Molina, this project seeks to deploy wireless connectivity in Tasajera island so that Salvadorian doctors are able to use IT equipment (computers, video cameras and a web-based medical records system) in their consultations with residents whose access to traditional health care services is severely limited.
Virtual Networks in a Real Environment. In the “Efforts to enhance, expand and promote Internet standards development” category, FRIDA selected Experimental Prototype for Dynamic Provisioning and Monitoring of Virtual Networks, a project submitted by REUNA from Chile. Led by Claudia Inostroza, this project aims to create an experimental prototype integrating algorithms, protocols and software tools for implementing network virtualization over a distributed physical network based on applied research and technological development. This project is one of the first Latin American projects of its kind and one of the few worldwide that will allow measuring and testing virtual networks in a real-scale environment.
Broadband Laboratory. Hernan Galperin and Jose Ignacio Alvarez-Hamelin from San Andres University and the Buenos Aires Technology Institute received funds from FRIDA to implement a Measurement Lab (M-Lab) node in Latin America which will help promote scientific research and transparency in measuring the performance of the region’s broadband network. M-Lab is an open platform of globally distributed servers, the goal of which is to generate robust measurements of broadband services and networks. This project was submitted under the category of “Implementing strategies for reliable and effective Internet infrastructure, human capacity and skills development.”
Through FRIDA, LACNIC seeks to foster participation and teamwork between research groups around the region on topics relating to new technologies for development. During the past few years, more than 1000 organizations have participated in the program’s calls for proposals, promoting the creation of a community of researchers involved in technological innovation topics in the Latin American and Caribbean region.