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Asian ICT projects get fresh international funding

Veronica C. Silva | Jan. 17, 2013
Research teams get grants that focus on key issues that challenge the region.

Research groups and organisations in Asia recently received a boost in financial aid to be able to conduct researches that have an impact on ICT growth in the region.

APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre), one of the regional Internet registries, said the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia) has received A$330,000 (US$346,700) in fresh funds to support 11 project teams in the region.

The funds were contributed by different aid agencies, including International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Internet Society (ISOC), Dot Asia, and APNIC.

The funds are to be distributed to the project teams in the form of grants through ISIF Asia, a programme that supports research and development in ICT to further the growth of ICT in the region.

Small grants

Supporters of ISIF Asia consider the infusion of the new funds this year as significant as the programme has suffered from fund drought in previous years.

"The ISIF Asia programme had limited resources during 2011 and 2012, and could only give awards to innovators in the region. It is really exciting to be able to provide more substantial support again," said Dr. Philip Smith, director, Learning and Development, APNIC.

With the new funding, APNIC remains helpful that the researches can help improve ICT growth in the region, particularly in developing economies.

Though the grants are small, they are nevertheless enough seed funding to create an impact, said Canada's IDRC.

Seed funding

"The small grants mechanism allows us to achieve many things. More than a decade of experience in seed funding for ICT for development initiatives has proved it is possible to spur on local innovations with inspiration from broader global ICT trends, and the impacts on society," said Phet Sayo, program officer, IDRC. "At IDRC, we are interested in building research fields, including ICT for development, and the emerging field of open development. Seed funding enables us to learn about the trends, ideas, and actors in the region."

The recipients of this year's ISIF grants submitted proposals based on the programme's focus researches. These year's projects per research category are the following:

Innovation on access provision
- Smart Phones for the Deaf Blind, Bidirectional Access Promotion Society (India)
- A Cloud Based Application Measuring and Controlling Electricity Used for Indonesian Houses, Binus International University (Indonesia)
- Pacific Islands Schools, Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project, iSolutions (Micronesia)

Code for the common good
- Real-time Hepatitis Reporting and Surveillance System in Low-Resource Settings using ICT and Mobile Phones, UM Healthcare Trust (Pakistan)
- Driver Distraction Management Using Sensor Data Cloud, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Dhaka (Bangladesh)

Innovation on learning and localisation
- Integrated Maternal and Child Healthcare Delivery and Training for Community Health Teams, Access Health International (Philippines)
- Developing Mobile Based Application to Support Pregnant Women, Yagiten Pvt. Ltd. (Nepal)
- Building Low-Cost Telecommunications Infrastructure in Myanmar: Localization and Training of a Practical Guide, First Myanmar Korea Group Co. Ltd. (Myanmar)

- Internet Rights are Women's Rights, Point of View in partnership with Association for Progressive Communications (India)
- Promoting Women's Rights and Safety Online: Addressing Electronic Violence Against Women (eVAW), Foundation for Media Alternatives(Philippines)
- Sinar Project, Transparency Internal Malaysia (Malaysia)

Teams are expected to work on their projects within six to 12 months, and then share their final technical reports. 


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