Information and communication technologies

Dramatic changes brought about by information and communication technologies (ICTs) have created new economic and social opportunities the world over. Access to and the strategic use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) have been shown to have the potential to help bring about economic development, poverty reduction, and democratisation.

Children practice their computer skills on new robust laptops. Rwanda is one of the first African countries to be part of the One Laptop per Child.
Credit: Panos / Sven Torfinn

IDS's work in this area seeks to understand how these new technologies can be harnessed to improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalised communities. We also look into how ICTs can best support the application of research evidence in development policy and practice.

Understanding information ecosystems - our research has looked at understanding how policy actors find, interpret and engage with information and ICTs. We apply the evidence gained from this work to inform our own approaches to research communication and the mobilising of research knowledge so that it can be applied to development policy and practice.

Knowledge mobilisation using ICTs - IDS works with partners to develop knowledge mobilisation strategies, and knowledge mobilisation services to help people understand, access and apply research evidence. Developing and innovating ICTs, such as open APIs, is core to this area of our work.

African Universities’ Research Approaches (AURA) Capacity Development Programme

The African Universities’ Research Approaches programme (AURA) seeks to strengthen research and teaching practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

mSTAR Real Time Data for Adaptive Programming Conceptual Framework

The project will focus on the growing importance of real-time data and in particular how digital tools can be used to generate information in support of more adaptive, contextually relevant, decision-making and programme management and implementation More details

Not Just Talk: Practice, Power, Knowledge and Information and Communication Technologies (TPPI)

Not Just Talk: Practice, Power, Knowledge and Information and Communication Technologies is a new IDS research initiative that seeks to critically examine the opportunities and challenges that the new generation of ICT innovations pose for poor and vulnerable groups. More details

Open Application Programming Interface (API)

The IDS Knowledge Services Open API (Application Programming Interface) makes the datasets held across our Knowledge Services accessible programmatically to other organisations and individuals to enable others to repurpose and contextualise this knowledge. More details

View all Research Theme's publications

Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.


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This is the front cover to IDS Rapid Response Briefing 17, 'Blockchain for Development – Hope or Hype?'

Blockchain for Development – Hope or Hype?

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 17 (2017)

Blockchain technology has been heralded by many as the next big thing. The potential use of blockchains has attracted widespread attention from the media, the IMF, the UN, and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor. More details

ER221_FrontCover

The Contribution of Digital Technologies to Service Delivery: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 221 (2017)

The explosion in digital connectivity, globalisation and the rapid growth in digital technologies over the last two decades has revolutionised the way that businesses perform and compete globally. More details

IDS Working Paper 483 Front Cover

Challenges in Reinvigorating and Upgrading DSpace-based Institutional Repositories: A University of Zambia (UNZA) Library Case Study

IDS Working Paper 483 (2017)

The University of Zambia established an institutional repository (IR) in order to archive and make available to the research community the university’s intellectual output using DSpace. This paper describes the rationale behind the implementation of an IR, the equipment and software used to digitise the materials. More details

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Gauging Demand for Evidence and Accountability in Impact Investing by using Twitter Social Network Analysis: A Methodology

IDS Evidence Report 213 (2016)

This report explains the methodology used to analyse the demand for evidence and accountability within the impact investment market. Social network analysis, qualitative interviews and ego network analysis were used to explore actors within this market (or system), drawing on data from Twitter to consider connections, influence and conversations about social impact. More details

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Dial ‘N’ for Nutrition? A Landscape Analysis of What We Know About m-Nutrition, m-Agriculture and m-Development

IDS Working Paper 481 (2016)

Child undernutrition is one of the most devastating realities in many parts of the world. Globally in 2015, 159 million children below the age of five years were too short for their age (stunted) and 50 million were too thin for their height (wasted). More details

Front cover for 'Ten Frontier Technologies for International Development'

Ten Frontier Technologies for International Development

As new technologies and digital business models reshape economies and disrupt incumbencies, interest has surged in the potential of novel frontier technologies to also contribute to positive changes in international development and humanitarian contexts. More details

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The Impact of Digital Technology on Economic Growth and Productivity, and its Implications for Employment and Equality: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 207 (2016)

As digital technology has begun to ‘eat the world’ it has also influenced the way that humans interact and transact with each other. Thus, it has inevitably had an effect on global, regional, national and local economies. More details

ER209_FrontCover

The Impact of Digital Technology on Environmental Sustainability and Resilience: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 209 (2016)

Striving for ‘environmental sustainability and resilience’ (ESR) is postulated as a crucial, universal and global challenge of the twenty-first century. Today, this challenge has to be addressed in a world that is dynamic in its societal, economic and political constituents, heightened by increased interconnectedness resulting from globalisation. More details

ER208_FrontCover

The Contribution of Digital Technology to Citizenship, Accountability and Rights: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 208 (2016)

The use of digital technologies has risen dramatically in the past century, building excitement among governments and technology experts about applying technology to improve accountability, transparency and the effectiveness of authorities. More details

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Towards Greater Effectiveness and Accountability in Impact Investing

IDS Policy Briefing 126 (2016)

Impact investing – investing for social and environmental returns alongside financial returns – is a growing phenomenon in financial markets. However, concerns exist regarding the demand for robust impact evidence and accountability for impact claims when compared to a public sector aid model. More details

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The Potential of M-health for Improved Data Use: Workshop Report

IDS Evidence Report 201 (2016)

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS), in partnership with World Vision Indonesia, are exploring whether a recently implemented nutrition surveillance intervention, known as M-health, is being used to improve community-based data collection on nutrition. More details

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Mixed-Method Impact Evaluation of a Mobile Phone Application for Nutrition Monitoring in Indonesia

IDS Evidence Report 200 (2016)

Child malnutrition (includes both under- and overweight) remains a challenge. Routine growth monitoring is a common practice. More details

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Testing TwitterWeave: An Application of the New IDS Web Tool for Tracking Research

IDS Evidence Report 191 (2016)

Understanding how people engage with research is a key issue for researchers, donors and anyone concerned with research impact, but observing this type of engagement is not easy. However, thanks to today’s widespread use of social media, it is now possible in principle to capture some of this engagement. More details

ER181_FrontCover

Real-time Monitoring in Disease Outbreaks: Strengths, Weaknesses and Future Potential

IDS Evidence Report 181 (2016)

This Evidence Report analyses the potential contribution of epidemic real-time monitoring (ERTM) initiatives to enhancing and augmenting disease surveillance systems in developing countries. More details

ER177_FrontCover

A Real-time Web Application for Tracking Twitter Exchanges about Research

IDS Evidence Report 177 (2016)

Understanding how people engage with research is an increasingly important issue, and not just for researchers. Funders, the media, politicians and ultimately the wider public are increasingly concerned about value for money and maximising the impact of research investment. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Evaluating Digital Citizen Engagement

The World Bank (2016)

This guide provides practical steps to assess the extent to which digital tools have contributed to citizen engagement and the help to understand the impact that the introduction of technology has had on the engagement processes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transforming Governance: What Role for Technologies?

The technological innovations of the last two decades – cell phones, tablets, open data and social media – mean that governments and citizens can interact like never before. Around the world, in different contexts, citizens have fast-increasing access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) that enable them to monitor government performance and express their views on it in real time. More details

ER163_FrontCover

Big Data and International Development: Impacts, Scenarios and Policy Options

IDS Evidence Report 163 (2015)

Many people are excited about data, particularly when those data are big. Big data, we are told, will be the fuel that drives the next industrial revolution, radically reshaping economic structures, employment patterns and reaching into every aspect of economic and social life. More details

PB107_FrontCover

Ensuring Developing Countries Benefit from Big Data

IDS Policy Briefing 107 (2015)

Big data is already creating a big impact. Some herald it as the new ‘data revolution’, others worry it is a tool for manipulation, while many in development cite it as key to successfully implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. More details

Strengthening_Evidence_Based_Policy_2015

Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs April 2014 – March 2015

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2015)

In much writing about development, policy and practice are portrayed as if they are joined at the hip. Policy shapes practice, while learning from practice informs policy processes. In this portrayal, practice is usually understood to refer to development practice, or how development programmes and projects are implemented. More details

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