Prof Richard Heeks

Professor of Development Informatics

Full contact details
View graph of relations

Research interests

Richard works in the growing field of development informatics, researching ICT4D - information and communication technologies for development. This analyses the relation between digital informatics (Internet, computing, mobiles, data, etc) and key socio-economic development processes (poverty alleviation, economic growth, social justice, environmental sustainability).

Richard directs the Centre for Development Informatics, the largest academic group dedicated to research on digital and development. The Centre's research outputs can be found in two edited working paper series; one on "Development Informatics", one on "iGovernment", and the ICT4D blog.
Richard's research interests include: 

a) New Digital Economy
Richard undertook the original benchmark study of the Indian software industry.  He subsequently developed the Software Export Success Model, and analysed the software sector using models of competitive advantage. Subsequent work analysed the emerging mass of digital enterprise including "impact sourcing" and inclusive digital innovation.  Current work centres on the role of digital enterprise and digital labour in challenging inequality, including the Fairwork Foundation.

b) Data Justice
Researching the extent to which datafication reproduces or challenges economic, social and political marginalisation and inequality.  This draws from a series of foundational papers on data justice.

c) e-Sustainability
The relation of ICTs to climate change and resilience, and the widely-used "design-reality gap" model that measures sustainability of ICT4D projects.

d) Digital Development Assistance
Exploring the implications of the data revolution in international development (e.g. three papers on big data), the role of ICT4D leaders, and use of agile methods.

e) New Digital Politics
Richard has been one of the world's leading academic analysts on e-government. His foundational work includes the most-downloaded paper analysing e-government research, and the first international textbook on e-government, Implementing and Managing eGovernment.  Current work includes open government data and the role of ICTs in challenging authoritarian rule.

f) Conceptualising ICT4D
Including the first textbook on “Information and Communication Technology for Development”; journal special issues on ICT4D theory and on critical realism and ICT4D; and work on the role of actor-network theory in development and on institutional logics.  It also includes field-shaping work on ICT4D priorities in research and policy/practice, and on the emergence of "digital development".


Research and projects