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Shayna Robinson — Funder Highlight

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Shayna Robinson is the new Programs Director for the Internet Society Foundation (ISF), leading all of its grant-making programs. One grant-making program — the Research Program — promotes novel research that generates solutions to Internet-related challenges and supports global research collaborations that fall under four thematic areas of focus. These areas of focus include (1) Greening the Internet, (2) The Internet Economy, (3) A Trustworthy Internet, and (4) Decolonizing the Internet.

The topic Greening the Internet speaks to the ways in which the Internet affects and is affected by the environment and climate change. The Internet Economy explores how Internet-driven activities impact how people produce and consume goods and services and shapes how people participate in a rapidly digitizing global economy. A Trustworthy Internet supports work that advances a form of the Internet that is resilient, reliable, accountable, and secure. The last thematic area of funding, Decolonizing the Internet, seeks to build an Internet that is a site of restorative, liberating, just, equitable, and transformational practices.

Within any of the above focus areas, independent researchers may apply for funding of up to $200,000 and organizations and institutions may apply for funding up to $500,000. In 2022, the ISF made available a total of $12M for grant-making across all its programs, with the Research Program receiving $5.5M. Robinson observes that funders and practitioners continue to focus their funding and research on the critical intersection of the Internet and the environment, with further efforts needed and continued growth expected.

The ISF also has an Emergency Response Program, which may be of interest to those working on issues of digitalization and sustainability. The Emergency Response Program supports organizations and communities whose projects focus on how the Internet can serve society during, or in response to, an emergency situation or disaster. Up to this point, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the focus of this program, however, looking forward, the focus may shift to regional, national, or global emergency needs identified by the ISF and its stakeholders. In 2022, the ISF dedicated a combined $3.5M to its Emergency Response Program and its Resiliency Program.

Prior to joining the Internet Society Foundation, Robinson served as the Director of Research and Development at Pollicy — an organization that describes itself as a “feminist collective of technologists, data scientists, creatives and academics working at the intersection of data, design and technology to craft better life experiences by harnessing improved data.” As the Director, Shayna led the research and software development teams to advance solutions to government-related issues in East Africa.

Please visit the Internet Society Foundation website to learn more about their many programs.


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