New networking activities will help academic expertise in information and communications technology to benefit developing countries.

ICT4D is a research growth area with exciting potential for creating innovative ways to alleviate global poverty and inequality

Ian Steed

A recently launched initiative of the Humanitarian Centre will focus activities on information and communications technologies for international development (ICT4D). Networking opportunities, learning events, training courses and an online directory will bring together academic, private sector and development practitioner audiences around the topic of ICT4D.

The Humanitarian Centre is a Cambridge networking organisation for international relief and development, and a registered society of the University. During the year-long focus on ICT4D, the Centre will be working in partnership with Cambridge-based ARM, a globally recognised company that designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products.

Ian Steed, Humanitarian Centre Manager, explains the importance of the new focus: ‘ICT4D is a research growth area with exciting potential for creating innovative ways to alleviate global poverty and inequality. Our aim is to facilitate valuable and productive collaborations between groups that would not otherwise have the chance to connect.’

A number of research areas led by the University are already highlighting the potential of ICT4D. Among these, a scoping project with China Mobile is examining the benefits of mobile phones for medical care in China and beyond, the Centre for Commonwealth Education has been introducing open educational resources into Zambian primary schools, and a new project by the Centre of Governance and Human Rights working with FrontlineSMS will examine the impact of mobile technology on citizen-led governance in Africa.

The 2010–2011 focus on ICT4D will be reflected in the second of the Humanitarian Centre’s Cambridge and International Development reports late in 2011. The first report, focusing on Cambridge innovation in international development, was published in November 2010.

For more information, please contact Ian Steed, Humanitarian Centre Manager (; Tel: +44 (0)1223 760885) or visit


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