Research and Projects
This program explores information and communication technologies (ICTs) - in particular the internet and mobile networks - in low-income and low-infrastructure countries and contexts. This field is sometimes referred to as ICT4D (information and communication technologies for development). We are always on the look-out for new and exciting research prospects!
Research Topic Areas
ICT's for Democracy, Peace and Reconciliation
Inventing new information and communication systems and examining the role of existing systems in post-conflict peace and reconciliation. Exploring the ways that ICTs can facilitate democratic processes and ideals. Can rich media and the internet help to create dialogue and ultimately heal a nation? How does ICT policy, institutions and infrastructure rebuild and respond in post-conflict nations? How do ICT's affect the democratic and political sphere?
Last Mile Initiatives
Examining how systems, policies and people can bring ICT connectivity to everyone, everywhere. Why would a rural farmer in Africa want an internet connection? What network technologies would be most effective, innovative and sustainable? What are the appliances and applications most empowering?
SARI and Sustainability
Examining the broad rage of sustainability factors as related to ICT interventions in low-income countries. How do we make an ICT intervention sustainable along social, financial, political, institutional, technological and environmental dimensions? What are the critical success and failure factors? When is failure an evolutionary step versus an end-state?
HCI for Development
Examining interaction design to address the needs, desires and aspirations of people in low-income areas. How do we design (or why) the personal out of personal computers, the desk out of the desktop and English from the QWERTY keyboard? Should we create a community computer based on agricultural or family metaphors, for instance? What is a user or community centered design for low-income countries?
Public Policies, Assessments and Evaluations
Examining public policy and regulatory approaches and evaluating these policies along with specific ICT interventions. In particular providing consulting and research inputs to governments and donors on specific organizations and interventions. Can we move beyond anecdotes and success stories towards a robust understanding of global best practices for ICT4D interventions?
Additional Information about these Research Topic Areas can be found on Dr. Michael Best's Personal Website.