[RG24-2] ICT for Development (ICT4D)

Over recent years, the international development sector has witnessed a rise in ICT-related projects, including digital transformation (DX) and innovation. This trend, driven by a significant increase in cooperation between public and private sectors, has resulted in transformative social changes catalyzed by digital tools and an increase in ICT applications in varied sectors, such as business, education, and peacebuilding.

However, challenges are also accumulating, including ethical issues related to AI, information management and censorship, and persistent digital divides. Many studies have raised concerns about the negative impacts and failures due to hasty digitalization, warning against excessive expectations towards ICT.

In response to these dynamics, our research group aims to explore both the potential and limitations of ICT and innovation within the international development sector. We have actively participated in JASID conferences, delivering presentations on subjects such as PeaceTech and the bottlenecks in DX Implementation. Additionally, some of the members have translated and published “ICT for Development” by Dr. Richard Heeks.

Once this application is approved, our group plans to hold regular research meetings and invite guest speakers. Moreover, we strive to foster the academic growth of our fields, such as Development Informatics and ICT4D, that are less recognized as an academic field compared to their practical application.

[RG24-5] Bridging Theory and Practice in Educational Development

This research group aims to reimagine the field of International Educational Development by bridging theory and practice. It intends to do two main activities: 1) facilitating a series of dialogue between next generation scholars and practitioners in this field to better understand each other; and 2) proposing new image of the field through collaborative explorations of the past and current experiences. The research team has already launched an informal study group last year, where we learned that scholars (or theories) and practitioners (or their practices) have somehow “passed” each other without really engaging in dialogue. For example, scholars tended to perceive JICA as a monolithic actor rather than paying attention to individual feelings and struggles inside the organization, whereas practitioners tended not to utilize researchers’ perspectives and critiques fully in their daily business. The proposed research group, therefore, tries to have continuous dialogue between scholars (or theories) and practitioners (or their practices) so that we could deepen our understanding about how and why there has been such a distance between them as well as whether we ought to bridge the gap or not, what it means, and how. Unpacking these questions in collaboration with the two parties may help reimagine the field of International Educational Development.