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Research Activities

The ICT4D Collective undertakes a range of research relating to the use of ICT for development. It draws on expertise primarily within the Geography Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, but also from other Departments within the College, notably the Computer Science Department, the School of Management, Politics and International Relations, and the Computer Centre. Publications by members of the Collective are made available on our Publications and Working Papers pages.

Courses (free content)
Digital Environments

Ongoing Research

Development Partnerships

This research examines new kinds of partnership between governments. civil society organisations, the private sector and international organisations, and the ways in which these can make a real contribution to the needs of marginalised communities through the use of ICTs. Tim Unwin's paper entitled Partnerships in Development Practice: evidence from multi-stakeholder ICT4D practice in Africa was published by UNESCO for Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society.

Fair Tracing

This EPSRC funded project aims to support Ethical Trade by implementing IT Tracking and Tracing Technologies in supply chains to provide consumers and producers with enhanced information (Fair Tracing blog)

EUGrids4D: European Grid Technology and Services for Development

Grid technology is on the verge of achieving the role of a strategically critical technology for communities and businesses. European Grid technology and service providers can play a key role in user take-up and commercial exploitation if they succeed in building Grid pilots demonstrating the high potential for communities, and large and small businesses, of their products and services. Pilot Grids help users and communities to become familiar with Grid technologies and in return, new insights and experiences drawn from Grid-supported communities and businesses, feed back to technology design and policy advice. This feedback loop enables European Grid players to achieve an increasingly important role among their world-wide community. The market for Grid technology and services is a global one by nature, but on a regional level there are different lessons to be learnt. EUGrids4D addresses the lessons that can be learnt in developing markets, and in communities that empower themselves or leverage their capabilities through Grid and related web technologies. This work is closely associated with the WS-Talk project - a European Sixth Framework project 2005-2006, "Web Services Communicating in the Language of Their Community" led by Dr Kurt Englmeier. Contact - Fionn Murtagh, Computer Science, RHUL.

Biomedical and Primary Health Care Informatics

The biomedical and primary care informatics research groups are based within the Division of Community Health Sciences at St. George’s University of London (SGUL). The group is currently setting up the first full-time undergraduate biomedical informatics course in the UK; in partnership with Royal Holloway and Kingston University. The groups' research is highly pertinent to ICT4D’s goals. We are very interested in medical record architecture and coding systems. We are also interested in getting medical information to where it is needed – our first project was called the Doctors Desk, and more recently we have developed the Primary Care electronic Library. We also have interests in telemedicine and eHealth. Contact details for the group can be found at www.gpinformatics.org. We would be very interested in working with colleagues interested in setting up computerised medical records systems, developing on-line information resources or developing eHealth applications. Please contact: Simon de Lusignan.

Budgetary Support Mechanisms and Development Aid

This research focuses on developing a critique of the budgetary support mechanisms through which donors are increasingly seeking to provide 'aid' for the poorer countries of the world. It highlights significant problems with such an approach, and argues that it is incapable of delivering substantial change for the poorest people. This problem is exacerbated by the donor communiity's insistence on definining poverty in esssentially absolute terms. The research also seeks to examine new kinds of partnership between governments. civil society organisations, the private sector and international organisations, and the ways in which these can make a real contribution to the needs of marginalised communities through the use of ICTs. Click here for draft entitled Beyond budgetary support, economic growth and absolute poverty. For a critique of Jeffrey Sachs' The End of Poverty see No End to Poverty.

A framework for the use of ICT in Teacher Training in Africa

There is a vast gulf between the rhetoric of those advocating the use of ICT in education in Africa and the reality of classroom practice across the continent. This research explores the reasons for this, and is developing a framework for the successful implementation of teacher training programmes that make advantageous use of appropriate ICTs. Six fundamental principles of good practice must be addressed for such programmes to be successful: a shift from an emphasis on ‘education for ICT’ to the use of ‘ICT for education’; an integration of ICT practice within the whole curriculum; a need for integration between pre-service and in-service teacher training; a need for the development of relevant and locally produced content; a need for appropriate educational partnerships; and an emphasis on the development of sustainable costing models. Click here for a draft paper entitled Towards a framework for the use of ICT in teacher training in Africa. The use of broadly defined ICT in undergraduate and postgraduate research is also briefly addressed in Doing development research 'at home'.

ECOSENSUS: Collaborative e-science for spatial decision-making in distributed environments

This research aims to develop and evaluate participatory distributed spatial decision-support tools in an international natural resource management context, with the resulting experiences and know-how encapsulated in open source e-learning resources. The specific objectives are: to develop a distributed computational infrastructure that extends conventional geographical information systems functionality with support for collaborative sensemaking: analysis, discussion, conceptual modelling and commitment to action; to develop the capacity for such distributed, spatial decision-support both within the UK and at international level through training, and open source course development; and to apply the internationally distributed infrastructure and human resources within a time-bounded problematic scenario which draws on an actual natural resource management issue within a developing country. The research is being carried out in collaboration with partner institutions in the UK and Guyana, and will use distinctive social science methodologies based on soft systems and participatory design approaches for investigating the evolution and impact of the project. The project will deliver enhanced open source software tools, open content e-Science learning resources, a human-centred understanding of the application of e-Science tools, and will undertake a range of dissemination activities aimed at supporting ESRC’s eSocial Science strategy. Contact: Andrea Berardi.

Geographical Information Systems and Development

Effective use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can play a significant role in supporting administrative reform in many development contexts. In particular, it provides a powerful tool for modelling environmental change, as in ongoing work in China and parts of Europe. However, it can also be used effectively in providing rigorous spatially based data for purposes as diverse as educational management and the introduction of new systems of land registration. Contact: Meng Xingmin

ICT and National Development

In development literature, information and communications technology (ICT) has been characterised as having the potential to enable national development. However, ICT has been conceptualised mostly as a monolithic and homogeneous entity. To a great extent, the ambiguous findings and diverse opinions on the role of ICT in national development can be attributed to this limited focus.  In order to better understand the role ICT can play in national development, we believe that the ICT artefact needs to be conceptualised in its many facets, perceptions and in its manifold impact in societies. The objective of this work is to conceptualise the role of ICT in development. This work is undertaken collaboratively between Dr. G. Harindranath and Professor Maung Sein, University of Agder in Norway. .


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Last updated 27th June 2011
ICT4D - the sustainable use of ICTs to enable poor people and marginalised communities to use the potential of ICT to transform their lives
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