Líderes 2.0

Introduction 

Internet governance discussions held by NRIs in Latin America and the Caribbean are currently shifting towards face-to-face meetings and the consolidation of debates about impacts on communities. NRIs have increasingly become a crucial part of their ecosystems by developing initiatives that contribute to highlighting and improving relevant and impactful topics, which in turn shape public policy. With the purpose of furthering digital agendas with bottom-up, multi-sectoral public policy, Líderes 2.0 will continue prioritizing work in-between sessions, under-represented communities and the exchange of knowledge among peers while providing an increasingly consolidated platform so that successful applicants’ voices can be heard.

In its third year, the 2022 Líderes 2.0 edition will keep on providing vital support so that local Internet governance communities can conduct research on their selected topics under the framework of grants and mentorships. It will also deepen the knowledge of such issues across the region and around the globe.

Objective

The goal of this program is to provide funding and mentoring to those applicants who get to be selected to conduct research and provide detailed insight on topics related to Internet governance (IG) as perceived within their communities. These research projects aim at deepening the knowledge about IG issues in Latin America and the Caribbean and they will be featured on LACNIC’s website.

Projects must be unique and refrain from duplicating previous research on regional IG issues. They should instead strive towards perfecting existing knowledge in the field. Unique and diverse perspectives will be highly appreciated. Former Líderes winners must wait at least two (2) years before they can be eligible as candidates for the program again. Former applicants who were not selected as winners can apply again.

Subject matters

Inclusive Internet Development: Human Rights Impact

Meaningful access that contributes to the well-being of people and societies is closely connected to the protection of human rights. Protecting such rights is fundamental not only for the continuity of past and current measures implemented during the pandemic, but also for the full enjoyment of the Internet in the social sphere. The main goal is to protect human rights online, mainly in the face of an increasing dependence on digital tools to complete daily tasks and the blurred limits between “online” and “offline” life.

Projects in this area may deal with, among other things, access and connectivity, digital inclusion, freedom of expression vs. censorship, data protection and privacy, gender rights and freedoms, online surveillance, access to truthful information / fake news detection, and democracy.

Security and Trust: Strengthened Cooperation

Feeling safe and trusting the digital world is fundamental to fully unlocking the Internet’s potential as an empowering tool, a channel for freedom of expression and a driver for economic development. However, Internet security can be threatened in many different ways, so collaborative approaches that acknowledge the roles and responsibilities of users and systems are essential. In recent years, the number of cyberattacks has increased, which has led cybersecurity plans to become more critical both at the organizational and national level. It must be noted that technical capacities to monitor, detect, report and resolve cyber incidents evolve with time. There needs to be inter-institutional and international cooperation in order to bring justice after cyber offenses or cybercrime.

Projects in this area may deal with, among other topics, cyber hygiene; trust and media outlets; the fight against misinformation, cybersecurity practices and rules; cyberattacks and cyber conflicts; cooperation policy; digital security for all; the economic and technical impacts of cybersecurity incidents; and the security, stability and resilience of the Internet infrastructure.

The Internet and Productivity

Common responses to the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, which are still being implemented in many places around the world, have been confinement measures and teleworking. Have these attempts to maintain productivity and the well-being of citizens had the desired effect in response to the loss of employment, increasing debt and commercial failure? In terms of economic recovery, are there any sustainable results since the mass adoption of digital tools and practices? The OECD states that teleworking may remain a permanent feature of the future working environment, which leads to the possibility of implementing bottom-up public policy to standardize such practice.

Among other topics, projects in this field may deal with digital upskilling, digital nomads, the continuity of teleworking practices at the national and organizational level, independent remote workers in global markets, the impact of the pandemic on business process outsourcing (BPO), new relationships between employers and employees stemming from remote work, the future of work and online education.

Internet Fragmentation risks

The principles that have supported the Internet’s success are responsible for addressing the various social needs. The Internet must be open, free and interoperable, and it must guarantee access to all the content online in an open and accessible way for all users. It must also continue to implement common technical standards and protocols to deliver a network of networks interconnected across countries and regions. The risk of Internet fragmentation and “attacks” through different actions is increasingly imminent, either technically and commercially or through regulations that hinder the development of innovative business models that could connect marginalized communities or provide business opportunities to small players.

Some regulations that pretend to address actual issues have the real intention of being an instrument of control and coercion, which undermines the technical functioning of the Internet.

Projects in this field may deal with, among other things, the open Internet; interoperability; censorship; Internet shutdowns; content blocking; net neutrality; the DNS; IXPs; best practices to limit access to unlawful content without hindering legal content

Findings can be presented in several formats, including digital publications of charts, animations, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.

2022 Líderes 2.0 Edition Highlights 

  • Access to USD 1,500 of funding
  • Access to mentors with expertise on global IG issues
  • Three-month period to conduct a brief research project
  • Findings can be presented in a single publication, videos, animations, a series of digital brochures, podcast episodes and infographics, or an original format of the candidates’ choosing
  • The final product will be uploaded to LACNIC’s website and it will be promoted through LACNIC’s communication channels
  • Regional acknowledgment of candidates’ intellectual property and their opinions on the issues faced by their community
  • Potential future participation in LACNIC’s Policy Fellowship Program, aimed at incorporating IG in several training instances and creating an institutional relationship with LACNIC.

Who can apply?

This program is open to NRI coordinators, college students, academic researchers, journalists, policymakers, independent researchers and technical communities, among others. Only individual applications and collaboration among individuals will be accepted. Virtually any person who has been involved in Internet governance in their community and/or who can demonstrate they are eligible to conduct a brief, high-quality research project can apply for the program. Líderes 2.0 is targeted at individuals and/or collaboration among individuals, not at entities. 

What are the selection criteria? 

These brief research projects are expected to provide new insight and context on Internet governance issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. The following are the criteria followed by the Selection Committee when assessing applications: 

  • Alignment with funded subject matters
  • Consistency in defining the issue
  • Originality
  • Diversity (geographical, gender, stakeholder)
  • Diversity of stakeholders (where collaborators are involved)

Projects must be unique and refrain from duplicating previous research on regional IG issues. They should instead strive towards perfecting existing knowledge in the field.

We advise candidates to avoid issues related to domestic and regional politics and/or any discriminatory argument unfairly targeting and undermining stakeholders in their local community.

LACNIC will not explicitly endorse or be responsible for the views and content expressed in final projects. 

The following shall not be funded by Líderes 2.0: 

  • Applications coming from outside Latin America and the Caribbean (participation in this region must be proven)
  • Political or religious organizations
  • Activities promoting existing research
  • Complements to other research grants - LACNIC intends to publish the entire final projects on its website
  • Profit-making activities
  • Research that has not been written by candidates will not be accepted.
  • Expenses unrelated to the research and the dissemination of its results

What is the selection process like?

Applicants must visit https://lideresform.lacnic.net/ and fill out the appropriate form, which will be fully processed and submitted online. Applications will be assessed following criteria pre-established by a Selection Committee made up by four regional IG representatives and two members of LACNIC’s staff. Two weeks after closing the call for applications, applicants will be notified about whether their applications have been selected or not. Selected applicants (hereinafter, “candidates”) shall be notified about who their assigned mentor will be. After that, they shall sign and send back an agreement together with their banking information to LACNIC in order to receive the funds. Candidates should schedule meetings with their mentors (subject to their availability/agreement) during the allotted three-month period. Candidates must submit a preliminary version of their project to their mentors so that the latter can assess the project’s development. After three months, candidates must submit their final project before the Selection Committee, which will review the project to ensure its consistency with the original plan described in their application and its quality. The Selection Committee will notify candidates about the approval of their projects. A two-week period of recommendations will follow. After their submission and approval, final projects will be uploaded to the LÍDERES Internet Governance Project Portal and periodic summaries of each author’s work will be provided.

The Selection Committee is made up by the corresponding program mentors. During the application process, applicants are expected to provide a brief overview of the issue at play (definition of the problem) as well as a summary of the approach they will take to conduct their research and the way they intend to capture and present their findings. Each successful applicant will be assigned a mentor, who will be an expert based in Latin America and the Caribbean involved in Internet governance. Each candidate will have access to ten (10) hours of mentorship to make preliminary questions, validate concepts about their research project, or simply ask for advice on how to capture and present their findings. Findings can be presented in a written publication, videos, animations, a series of digital brochures, podcast episodes and infographics, or an original format of the candidates’ choosing. The call for applications is expected to last one month and selected applicants are expected to complete their research projects in three (3) months. Project findings will be reviewed by the Selection Committee first and, after they are approved, they will be published on LACNIC’s website and promoted through LACNIC’s communication channels.

Who are the members of the Selection Committee and future mentors?

The 2022 Selection Committee is made up by:

  • Raquel Gatto
  • Alejandra Erramuspe
  • Julián Casasbuenas
  • Claire Craig

What happens once final projects are submitted?

LACNIC will be in charge of publishing the authors’ work on LACNIC’s website. It will also release various communications (press releases, announcements, etc.) acknowledging their contributions to specific topics related to Internet governance in Latin America and the Caribbean. This activity aims at expanding the potential scope of interests and candidates’ research. However, LACNIC will not endorse or be responsible for the opinions expressed in each document.

Important dates

  • Call for applications opens on June 13
  • Call for applications closes on July 17
  • Proposal assessment by the Selection Committee: July 18-29
  • Disclosure of selected proposals: July 01-05
  • Research projects starting date: August 08
  • First partial submission of research projects before the Selection Committee: October 21
  • Final submission of research projects before the Selection Committee: November 7
  • Publication and promotion of projects in their source language: November 21-30
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