International Research Competition – BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

  • Mark Yon 

To mark the official launch of the SHRI an international research competition was announced, on the 12th November, to focus on the impact of technology on all aspects of island life and comes with a prize of £5000.

The introduction of the fibre optic cable on St Helena offers a unique ‘one off’ opportunity to study change and development pre and post cable landing.

The SHRI, in conjunction with St Helena Government and the Fibre Optic Cable and Satellite Ground Station Board are seeking to attract research proposals from local and international researchers to encourage research which would contribute to this evaluation of a pre and post cable environment on St Helena. Specifically to help St Helena realise the social objectives of St Helena’s European Development Fund (EDF 11) 11th round project funding.

St Helena’s remoteness has forged and shaped the Island’s rich biodiversity, history and culture. Location has been the determining factor influencing opportunity for growth or impacting a downturn on the economy. St Helena now stands at the crossroads of a new and transformative digital future, connected to the world through a subsea fibre optic cable, bringing St Helena back on to the world stage on a digital highway, and engaging us in satellite communication and space technological advancement.

St Helena’s Digital Strategy aims to improve the Island’s health, education, economy and communications. The introduction of affordable, reliable and quicker broadband connectivity is key to the strategy and this is dependent on securing access to the subsea fibre optic cable that will enable the Island to have scalable connectivity, ranging from a few hundred gigabits per second up to multiple terabits as demand varies. It will open up new opportunities for education, business, research, helping to retain and attract St Helenians on and on to the Island and attracting a broader range of inward investment, visitors, digital nomads and researchers.

In June 2018, SHG secured €21.5 million European Development Fund, the majority of which is to support the delivery of the SHG Digital Strategy. The target is to deliver broadband to St Helena as early as 2021.

The proposals will be reviewed by the St Helena Connected Group and the St Helena Research Council and the research proposal which is considered to best support the EDF 11 social objectives, offering real benefits to the community and meets the Research Council criteria, will be awarded a grant of £5,000 to go towards the costs of travel to the Island or for local researchers, the sum of £5,000 to contribute to the costs of conducting the study.

Visit our Downloads page for the Competition Information sheet and Application form.

Contact us with further enquiries.