Líderes is a LACNIC program that provides funding and mentoring to support research on selected Internet Governance (IG) topics as they are perceived from within the different communities.

To support the contribution of those involved in, and committed to, the goal of advancing the digital agendas with an impact on the generation of public policies following a bottom-up and multistakeholder process, Líderes will continue to prioritize intersessional work, underrepresented communities, and knowledge exchange among peers, while providing an increasingly consolidated platform where the voices of successful candidates can be heard.

In 2023, the fourth edition of Líderes will continue to provide key support to researchers in local communities to study topics with local impact and a local perspective under a grant and mentorship format and will amplify knowledge of such issues throughout the region and even around the world.


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. Researchers selected in previous editions are not eligible to apply for the next two editions of the program. Previously unsuccessful candidates may reapply.

Thematic Areas

Internet for All: Inclusion and Impact on Human Rights

Meaningful access helps maintain and strengthen a free and open Internet, provides well-being to individuals and societies, and is closely connected to the protection of Human Rights. It is important to guarantee this protection to ensure the free use and enjoyment of the Internet.

Projects in this area should seek to address the challenges that exist around the Internet and digital inclusion, with an analysis of their impact on Human Rights.

Suggested topics:

  • the right to access and information;
  • the right to privacy and data protection;
  • technology in Latin American and Caribbean Human Rights legislation;
  • Human Rights in the digital sphere: freedom of expression vs censorship/freedom of gender;
  • the role of emerging technologies and their impact on Human Rights;
  • barriers to Internet access and generation of digital divides;
  • access to information and fake news;
  • alternative access models.
Cybersecurity and Cybercrime

The number of security incidents continues to rise. With a growing number of users incorporating technology into their personal and professional activities, new opportunities and scenarios for attacks are emerging. In this context, security should be a tacit element that accompanies Internet development and contributes to the generation of a trust-based digital environment. To accomplish this, it is necessary to work on developing stronger mitigation plans, informing and training users, and developing collaborative and cooperative approaches at both regional and global levels.

Projects in this area should seek to address the various aspects of cybersecurity, with an analysis of their impact on security and trust.

Suggested topics:

  • hate speech and the rights of vulnerable users;
  • protection of children online;
  • awareness and training plans;
  • technology for developing business innovation;
  • cyberattacks and cyber conflicts;
  • cyber hygiene;
  • the fight against disinformation;
  • cybersecurity practices and standards/ cooperation policies;
  • economic and technical impacts of cybersecurity incidents;
  • impacts on critical infrastructure;
  • cyberdiplomacy for strengthening trust between countries;
  • Internet infrastructure security, stability and resilience.
Risks of Internet Fragmentation

Fragmentation on the Internet has been a growing topic of discussion, yet there remains much to discuss and understand regarding this phenomenon. In the quest to maintain a free, open, and interoperable Internet, it is crucial to understand the risks associated with technical, commercial, or regulatory actions attacking the Internet (while the main goal of regulations may be to safeguard the Internet, regulators do not always conduct a prior analysis of their potential technical consequences on Internet operation).

Projects in this area should seek to address the risks and impacts of Internet fragmentation and may address the following suggested topics:

  • open Internet;
  • interoperability;
  • censorship/ Internet blackouts/content blocking;
  • net neutrality/DNS/IXPs;
  • regional and global perspectives;
  • technical challenges of Internet fragmentation.
Models for Internet Public Policy Formulation

Internet Governance refers to the development and application by various stakeholders, each in their respective role, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and utilization of the Internet. Public policies for the Internet reflect the commitment on the part of the States translated into protection for society. In this regard, Latin America and the Caribbean promote the definition of such public policies through various spaces for dialogue and under the conceptual model described above.

Projects in this area should seek to address the various mechanisms for the formulation of public policies for the Internet in our region, and the challenges that exist in the implementation of the multistakeholder model in this regard.

Suggested topics:

  • mechanisms for generating public policies for the Internet in the countries of our region;
  • analysis of the work of multistakeholder organizations;
  • evolution of bottom-up participation and Internet Governance spaces;
  • impact of Internet Governance initiatives for the formulation of public policies for the Internet.
Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies

The development of AI has experienced significant growth in recent years and has demonstrated its potential across various industries, including medicine, finance, and many others. Nevertheless, the questions and concerns that surround the topic cannot be ignored. Relevant questions may include “What impact do AI and emerging technologies have on society?” and “How is this managed?”

Projects in this area should seek to address the issue of AI and emerging technologies in their different aspects and an analysis of their impact on society, as well as recommendations to avoid affecting the rights of each individual.

Suggested topics:

  • user security vulnerabilities;
  • non-discrimination;
  • impartial treatment of data;
  • analysis of AI use by governments and industries;
  • ethical principles for managing AI and their potential risks;
  • technical robustness and security (cyberattacks);
  • illegal treatment of personal data.

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

Highlights of the 2023 Edition of the Líderes Program

  • Access to USD 1,500 of funding
  • Access to mentors with expertise on global IG issues
  • Successful applicants will have a three-month period for 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
  • After completing their research, they will have the chance to obtain one of the 8 sponsorships that will be offered within the framework of LACNIC Policy Shapers, a program that aims to support the insertion into the world of Internet Governance through various instances of training and participation in the institutional life of 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 anyone who is —or who has been— involved in Internet Governance in their community and/or who can demonstrate strong capacity to conduct a brief, high-quality research project is welcome to apply. The Líderes program is aimed at individuals and/or collaborations between individuals, not institutions.

How does the selection process work?

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 and gender)
  • 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:

  • 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

How does the selection process work?

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.

Three weeks after the Call for Proposals closes, applicants will be informed whether their applications have been selected. The selected applicants (from now on, the “Candidates”) will be informed of the mentor they have been assigned and will subsequently receive an agreement which they must sign and return to LACNIC along with their bank details in order to later receive full payment of the fund. Candidates must schedule check-ins with their mentors during the three-month period (subject to their availability/agreement). An interim report must be delivered to the mentor so they can evaluate the development and progress of the research. At the end of the three-month period, the candidates must submit their final work to the Selection Committee, who will review each report to ensure its quality and that it is consistent with the plan described during the application process. By then, the candidates will be informed if their work has been approved by the Selection Committee. After their submission and approval, final projects will be uploaded to the LÍDERES Internet Governance Project Portal.

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 2023 Selection Committee is made up by:

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

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

  • Research projects start - 1st September
  • Submission of interim report to the Selection Committee - 6 November
  • Submission of final report to the Selection Committee - 27 November
  • Publication and dissemination of the projects in their original language - 4 to 15 December