The APNIC Foundation is pleased to announce the 2022 round of ISIF Asia grants!
The 18 grants – valued at a combined USD 1.23 million – include funding for satellite connectivity to support education projects in Samoa, the development of a Security Operations Center to support SMEs in Thailand, a disaster early warning system in Pakistan and a bug bounty programs to improve security within Sri Lankan government agencies.
This includes the five inaugural funding recipients of the Ian Peter Grants for Internet and the Environment, which will working around Internet availability as part of disaster response and preparedness as well as support for research in the intersection between Internet technologies and climate change. Grantees include the EcoInternet index, IoT deployments focusing on water management and disaster response, as well as efforts to tackle climate misinformation. The Ian Peter grants are split across the Inclusion and Knowledge programs.
Four economies are receiving ISIF Asia grants for the first time – Samoa, Hong Kong, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea . Grant recipients in 2022 overall are spread across 14 economies. The total number of economies supported by ISIF Asia grants now stands at 31 of the 56 in the APNIC Foundation region.
The full list of project summaries is included below. Headings show project title, grantee organization, economy and grant amount. Grants are listed by Foundation program, and by category (Impact, Scale-up or Small grants) in descending order of grant size.
Follow links for easy navigation.
- Samoa district connectivity project. Bluewave Wireless Company Limited. Samoa. USD 150,000.
- OpenLI for the Pacific Islands. University of Waikato. New Zealand. USD 85,000.
- Open-source SOC-as-a-service for small and medium manufacturers. National Electronics and Computer Technology Center. Thailand. USD 30,000.
- IPv6 Deployment Grants
- Indigitech PacifiCode. Digital Education Limited. Samoa. USD 150,000.
- Be the A11y. PT Suara Inklusi Semesta. Indonesia. USD 85.000.
- Combating cyberbullying for better Internet inclusivity: An optimized deep learning approach. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Malaysia. USD 30,000.
- Empowering women, youth, and special needs people in the tech Sector. UULEN TYEKHNOLOGI SONIRKHOGCH ZALUU INJYENYERUUDIIN BULGEM TBB. Mongolia. USD 30,000
- Affordable Internet for the community by the community. Janata Wifi Ltd. Bangladesh. USD 30,000.
- Assisting natural beekeeping in rural and remote areas using LoRa-based IoT and Drones. Sejong University. Republic of Korea. 30,000.
- Building a model for community networks linked to social enterprise and sustainable local economic development. Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia, Inc. Bangladesh, China and the Philippines. USD 150,000
- Government bug bounty program. SCoRe Lab. Sri Lanka. USD 85,000
- Adversarial machine learning attacks in wireless networks. Griffith University. Australia. USD 30,000
- PumonAI: Multi Institutional Collaboration for Pneumonia Screening. Universitas Prasetiya Mulya. Indonesia. USD 30,000.
IAN PETER GRANTS FOR INTERNET AND THE ENVIRONMENT
- ISLET Connect. CVISNET Foundation, Inc. Philippines. USD 85,000
- Early warning and communication system for flood risk reduction in Gilgit-Baltistan. Lahore University of Management Sciences. Pakistan. USD 85,000.
- IoT data-driven water management for climate resilient communities. Similie Timor Lda. Timor Leste. USD 85,000
- EcoInternet index. DotAsia Foundation Ltd. Hong Kong. USD 30,000.
- Tackling climate change misinformation. Faculty of Social and Political Science through the Center for Digital Society. Indonesia. USD 30,000.
Samoa district connectivity project. Bluewave Wireless Company Limited. Samoa. USD 150,000.
There is a huge need to address the digital divide in rural communities in Samoa and provide Internet access to unserved and underserved communities. Currently the lack of reliable Internet access in rural areas in Samoa prevents communities from being able to fully participate in activities such as digital education, e-commerce and other online digital activities which can enhance their livelihoods.
This impact grant will enable the deployment of satellite connectivity to district sites across Samoa, (mainly rural and village-based communities), who currently have little to no reliable connectivity. These unserved and underserved rural communities will also require redundancy for disaster preparedness.
These satellite sites will increase Internet availability and provide reliable connectivity access, through a dedicated district server where key social, economic and education initiatives can be delivered for community members. This aligns with and supports the Government of Samoa’s District Community projects.
OpenLI for the Pacific Islands. University of Waikato. New Zealand. USD 85,000.
Conventional, proprietary, lawful intercept systems are expensive to buy, technically challenging to understand and can be difficult to manage. For smaller economies and providers this substantial overhead that does not contribute to customer services but is often particularly important for law enforcement.
This scale-up grant will work with members of the Pacific Islands network operator and law enforcement communities to provide in-person and online training and support for Lawful Intercept deployment and operation. It will use OpenLI the world’s only open source, ETSI-standard Lawful Intercept system. Further development of OpenLI to meet local needs will also be part of the grant.
Open-source SOC-as-a-service for small and medium manufacturers. National Electronics and Computer Technology Center. Thailand. USD 30,000.
Cybersecurity, though an essential component, is addressed less than other elements in the context of Thailand’s Industry 4.0 program. Strengthening cybersecurity in manufacturing means securing not only the IT (information technology) infrastructure, but also the OT (operation technology) components such as machines, controllers, and shop-floor facilities. To prevent and reduce impacts of cyber-attacks in a factory setting, a complex real-time monitoring and evaluation of cyber risks is necessary.
This small grant will fund the development of a Security Operations Center (SOC) to support small and medium factories in Thailand. This SOC will be implemented with all open-source software to reduce development and operation cost, making this service sustainable and affordable to SMEs. This project will test the prototype SOC services with three small and medium-sized factories. These factories will receive standard SOC services: cybersecurity monitoring, incident response, vulnerability assessment and threat analysis for a period of at least three months. After fine-tuning the SOC operation and service based on feedback from these factories, the prototype SOC-as-a-service model will scale out to serve more factories in Thailand.
IPv6 Deployment Grants
ISIF Asia also recently announced four IPv6 Deployment grants, that are part of the Infrastructure program. They were:
- BOOM! Inc., Micronesia: USD 250,000
- Tonga Communication Corporation, Tonga: USD 250,000
- National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, India: USD 240,000
- Yayasan Badan Wakaf Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia: USD 60,000
Indigitech PacifiCode. Digital Education Limited. Samoa. USD 150,000
In 2019, Digital Education Limited (publicly known as Code Avengers) visited the big island of Savai’i and found that only two out of 61 schools visited had Internet connectivity and access to e-learning platforms. Teachers reported feeling left behind as they had limited access to educational resources.
In 2021, Code Avengers and E3 Rural Samoa Trust successfully piloted a coding workshop at Siufaga School in Savai’i. Currently the teachers at Siufaga School are running it as an after-school program which has had a total of 128 students.
This impact grant will increase digital literacy and bridge the digital divide. The project will increase the capacity of 10 schools to deliver ICT education. It will improve Internet access, availability to hardware and professional development of key teachers to deliver an empowered in-classroom program that aligns to the Samoan ICT curriculum and gives students confidence in a digital world.
Be the A11y. PT Suara Inklusi Semesta. Indonesia. USD 85.000
People with disabilities in Indonesia face difficulties accessing vital information and digital services that are currently not following digital accessibility (a11y) standards.
This scale-up grant will fund the further development and first use case of Ba11y. Ba11y is a crowdsourced accessibility reporting platform designed to gather feedback from people with visual impairment across Indonesia to evaluate the accessibility of various local websites and applications. The use case will seek to influence companies or services to take action to improve their level of digital accessibility.
In addition, this project seeks to improve technical capacity through activities such as the pop-up empathy lab, bootcamp, and design challenges. These activities expect to expand understanding and increase technical capacity to build inclusive and accessible digital products and enhance collaboration between technical communities and people with disabilities in Indonesia.
Combating cyberbullying for better Internet inclusivity: An optimized deep learning approach. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Malaysia. USD 30,000.
There is limited awareness of cyberbullying in developing economies, particularly in areas with recent Internet penetration, and particularly among young people.
This small grant will embark on fostering awareness of cyberbullying threats through several promotional activities in Malaysia and Indonesia. The grant also aims to increase Internet inclusivity by reducing the likelihood of cyberbullying caused by religion, gender, race, and age.
This project will develop an optimized deep learning-based algorithm that can identify cyberbullying incidences automatically. The proposed algorithm will also help in promoting awareness of cyberbullying threats by providing examples of words linked with cyberbullying attempts.
Empowering women, youth, and special needs people in the tech Sector. UULEN TYEKHNOLOGI SONIRKHOGCH ZALUU INJYENYERUUDIIN BULGEM TBB. Mongolia. USD 30,000
In Mongolia, there is a severe shortage of Internet engineers. At the same time, groups like women, youth, and those with special needs experience higher levels of unemployment.
This small grant will help address this skills disconnect.
Most of the technical engineers that work in Mongolia graduated from domestic universities, which means they often have not had opportunities to study cloud technology or developed skills in foreign languages. UULEN TYEKHNOLOGI SONIRKHOGCH ZALUU INJYENYERUUDIIN BULGEM TBB (known publicly as The Cloud Academy) teaches relevant, up-to-date cloud skills with an internationally certified curriculum in Mongolian native language, but with professional technical terms in English to help assist participants to connect with their peers globally.
Affordable Internet for the community by the community. Janata Wifi Ltd. Bangladesh. USD 30,000.
Most of the Bangladesh population uses smartphones as their primary device to access the Internet. They can neither afford to pay for high-quality cellular broadband subscription fees, nor can they bear the initial setup cost of cable broadband.
This small grant will allow for setting up community Wi-Fi hotspots in low-income areas, where people can use high-quality and affordable broadband Internet with the mobile devices they already own. These community hotspots would comprise Wi-Fi access points, wireless access gateway, broadband backhaul, innovative software, and power backup to ensure high-bandwidth uninterrupted Internet connection without data usage limits.
Micro merchants from the communities would act as hosts and marketers of these hotspots and local Internet Service Providers would provide the broadband backhaul. This model provides incentives to all stakeholders to expand and maintain affordable broadband coverage for even the most disadvantaged communities.
Assisting natural beekeeping in rural and remote areas using LoRa-based IoT and Drones. Sejong University. Republic of Korea. 30,000.
Beehive management and monitoring are challenges for beekeepers, particularly those using natural methods, because the beehives are widely dispersed around rural and remote areas where the terrain makes transportation and telecommunication difficult.
This small grant will study proof of concept ideas for providing Internet availability by using an Internet of Things (IoT) and drone system for remote beehive management.
Building a model for community networks linked to social enterprise and sustainable local economic development. Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia, Inc. Bangladesh, China and the Philippines. USD 150,000
This impact grant will kickstart development of a model to understand how community networks can be linked to social enterprise and sustainable local economic development. The project will explore how these models could contribute to addressing the challenge of sustainability faced by community networks serving poor communities and households that usually do not have the capacity to pay for connectivity services. The project will explore different approaches in Bangladesh, China and The Philippines.
In Bangladesh, the project will support a cellular router system in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, serving women groups and artisans who are already suppliers to a Fair-Trade organization, so that they are connected through the Internet and able to communicate with product designers, quality checkers, and marketing channels. In China, a digital platform will be created to connect smallholder farmers to document, share and showcase their knowledge on quality food production, biodiversity conservation, sustainable farming and local cultural practices. In the Philippines, the project will support innovative schemes of digital networking and marketing addressing poor connectivity to serve community-based coffee enterprises of farmers and indigenous communities as well as organized small-scale producers engaged in the sustainable agriculture value chain.
Government bug bounty program. SCoRe Lab. Sri Lanka. USD 85,000.
Bug Zero is currently actively promoting bug bounties in local private institutions and aims to expand the scope by introducing bug bounties to governmental institutions in partnership with the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and SL Cert in Sri Lanka.
This scale-up grant will help to carry out initial threat modelling for building a threat classification framework for all government and government-affiliated entities, which includes 200+ potential individual government organizations. This will aid in the promotion of bug bounties as an effective tool for government organizations as well as a good economic opportunity for youth.
In the initial phase, the project will run pilot programs for the identified set of government entities to understand the end-to-end pipeline that involves from getting a vulnerability report to an actual fix in terms of helping them with not only using the bug bounty platform but also with the triaging and vulnerability remediation validation phases.
Adversarial machine learning attacks in wireless networks. Griffith University. Australia. USD 30,000
This project investigates adversarial machine learning attacks in wireless networks where malicious attackers use machine learning to learn the characteristics of wireless channels to tamper with network communications.
This small grant will implement a Software-Defined Radio (SDR)-based adversarial machine learning attacks in wireless networks and evaluate the impact of these attacks. A good understanding of these adversarial attacks will enable the design of effective countermeasures against them.
PumonAI: Multi Institutional Collaboration for Pneumonia Screening. Universitas Prasetiya Mulya. Indonesia. USD 30,000
Pneumonia is considered one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five worldwide, with one child dying every 39 seconds. In Indonesia, according to UNICEF, childhood pneumonia alone claimed the lives of more than 19,000 children under five in 2018. Such a high number of childhood pneumonia death cases ranks Indonesia among the highest in the world, above all other Southeast Asian countries.
This small grant will help develop a system for fast pneumonia detection with high precision and robustness, accessible through various devices, such as smartphone, personal computer as well as the Picture Archiving and Communication (PACS) workstations used in hospitals.
The project will develop a collaboration platform among hospitals using Artificial Intelligence in vast area in Indonesia. This project will not only be dedicated to early detection of pneumonia, but also reinforcing patient data anonymity and privacy.
Ian Peter Grants for Internet and the Environment
ISLET Connect. CVISNET Foundation, Inc. Philippines. USD 85,000
The digital divide in the Philippines has resulted in uneven distribution of Internet access points, with them being concentrated in areas with vast population. This threatens the social and economic progress of those living in secluded communities including the islands of Gilutongan, Cawhagan and Pangan-an under the City of Lapu-lapu and the Municipality of Cordova Cebu, Philippines. These islands have only limited to no Internet service connection.
The Internet for Safety, Livelihood, e-Education and Tourism for Vulnerable Islands of Cebu Province (ISLET Connect) Project focuses on providing the identified remote and vulnerable islands a stable broadband Internet solution and a solar powered Locally Accessible Cloud System (LACS) facility for immediate communication and disaster response support which can be used even in the absence of telecommunication and Internet services. The project also aims to establish project sustainability through the promotion of correct utilization of the internet service to maximize the community’s progress in terms of Safety, Livelihood, e-Education and Tourism.
This grant is in the Inclusion program.
Early warning and communication system for flood risk reduction in Gilgit-Baltistan. Lahore University of Management Sciences. Pakistan. USD 85,000.
Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, as evidenced by multiple climate disasters, including the 2022 floods, increasing Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF), and rain-fed flash floods. This increasing vulnerability to climate change, especially in the high mountain region of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, has necessitated installing a Flood Early Warning System that is scalable and sustainable within the economic, infrastructure, and digital divide context of the region.
This scale-up grant will help us leverage open-source IoT technologies to deploy cost-effective, off-grid flood early warning systems to build the disaster risk resilience of climate-vulnerable communities in Gilgit- Baltistan, Pakistan. We will also explore the solution space of Internet technologies, especially the TV White Space devices, and assess its feasibility as a cost-effective broadband pop-up Internet service.
This grant is in the Inclusion program.
IoT data-driven water management for climate resilient communities. Similie Timor Lda. Timor Leste. USD 85,000.
Climate hazards such as droughts, floods, and heavy rains are greatly affecting communities throughout the Asia-Pacific. Over 80% of Timor Leste’s rural population depends on rain-fed agriculture, and the majority of domestic water supplies are fed by high altitude vulnerable shallow aquifers. The lack of conservation activities regularly results in topsoil loss. Conservation activities around catchment areas have been ongoing in Timor Leste for over a decade. While many communities have benefited from these efforts, the government can be reluctant to include these activities in its national policies, as there is no quantitative data to validate them.
This Scale Up grant will fund and develop Similie’s ability to use data-driven science to monitor conservation and remote water supply activities. Similie’s IoT technology will be deployed and monitor two rural catchment areas, water supply and localized weather activities. The data will then be analyzed and visualized within the Similie online platform.
This grant is in the Knowledge program.
EcoInternet index. DotAsia Foundation Ltd. Hong Kong. USD 30,000.
Following the largest drop in global carbon emissions in 2020 due to the pandemic, emissions levels have bounced back to their highest ever. With the non-stop, explosive growth of Internet use, it is important to figure out the formula for a sustainable and eco-friendly Internet.
This small grant will fund the continual research on carbon footprints of Internet infrastructures, efficiency of data exchange, use of renewable energy in the country, and development of digital economy. These would all factor into the EcoInternet Index, which would enable meaningful and comprehensive comparisons among different jurisdictions and observe the changes throughout the years.
These analyses would be useful indicators for policy making and implementation, to drive governments and business sectors to join their efforts together to lay out concrete action plans towards an EcoInternet.
This grant is in the Knowledge program.
Tackling climate change misinformation. Faculty of Social and Political Science through the Center for Digital Society. Indonesia. USD 30,000.
Online misinformation usually targets certain demographics that are prone to misinformation due to a lack of digital literacy.
This small grant will help the Center for Digital Society map digital literacy skills, to help counter misinformation related to climate-change and improve digital literacy skills. It will consist of a series of training events dedicated to demographic groups who are most vulnerable. It will also contribute to policy development through research.
The first stage of the project comprises several research activities: desk research, online survey, and sentiment analysis research. The second stage consists of a series of community outreach programs.
This grant is in the Knowledge program.
The APNIC Foundation thanks all applicants for sharing their ideas, the members of the Selection Committees for their hard work, and the Trust for supporting these projects. Technical reports on the projects will be published on the ISIF Asia website as they are completed.