Given a (connected) undirected graph G, a set X ⊆ V(G) and integers k and p, the Steiner Subgraph Extension problem asks whether there exists a set S ⊇ X of at most k vertices such that G[S] is a p-edge-connected subgraph. This problem is a natural generalization of the well-studied Steiner Tree problem (set p = 1 and X to be the terminals). In this paper, we initiate the study of Steiner Subgraph Extension from the perspective of parameterized complexity and give a fixed-parameter algorithm (i.e., FPT algorithm) parameterized by k and p on graphs of bounded degeneracy (removing the assumption of bounded degeneracy results in W-hardness).

Besides being an independent advance on the parameterized complexity of network design problems, our result has natural applications. In particular, we use our result to obtain new single-exponential FPT algorithms for several vertex-deletion problems studied in the literature, where the goal is to delete a smallest set of vertices such that: (i) the resulting graph belongs to a specified hereditary graph class, and (ii) the deleted set of vertices induces a p-edge-connected subgraph of the input graph.