Amy Mahan Research Fellows off to London to participate in international conference

Following a year of rigorous research activities aimed to build upon the knowledge regarding public access to information and communication technologies (ICT), efforts of the Amy Mahan Research Fellows are beginning to bear fruit for the young scholars. Teams from Argentina, China, Malaysia, Peru, Rwanda and Thailand have all had papers accepted for the postgraduate day at ICTD 2010, an international conference taking place in London where researchers and practitioners will meet to discuss the latest research in the field of ICT for development. The postgraduate day is happening on December 13, the first day of the event that will include presentations and panels on academic and professional discussions related to the field.

In total, fellows from six teams have authored eight papers through research projects that began earlier this year. The teams are supported by IDRC through competitive grants of the Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program, a component of the project Investigating the Social and Economic Impact of Public Access to ICT. The research themes are diverse, but all look at the way by which public access to ICT, through venues such as telecentres, Internet cafés or libraries, can potentially affect the lives of people in developing countries. Wei Shang and Lei Guoxin will present their work that includes the topic of whether or not Internet addiction or rising juvenile delinquency associated with Internet café users is really happening in China. Jean Damascène of Rwanda will be showcasing his team’s work on the likelihood of job seekers finding employment after they have acquired ICT skills through training in telecentres. Other fellows will also be presenting their work throughout the day at the conference. Their papers can be found on the fellowship website.

Investigating the Social and Economic Impact of Public Access to ICT is a five-year, CAD$7.9 million research project supported by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and a grant to IDRC from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Managed by IDRC, it is executed through two sub-projects: the Global Impact Study, and the Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program. The Global Impact Study, led by the Technology & Social Change Group at the University of Washington, funds a series of rigorous studies that aims to generate concrete evidence on the impact of public access to ICT. The Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program, led by Universitat Pompeu Fabra, deepens the capacity of emerging scholars with the goal of increasing the amount of quality research in the area of public access to ICT from developing countries.

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