The research programme was aimed at developing online research networks by enabling selected participants from the online training programme to further their work on ICT issues of interest by engaging in a group research project. Fifty-six of the most successful online course participants were accepted for the online research phase in Autumn 2010.
The online course on policy research sought to address questions such as: What purpose does a policy paper serve? What is policy research? How is it carried out? Why do we need it? Thus, the research programme consisted of two components: the educational programme, which focused on introducing the concepts of policy and policy research, objectives, methodologies and techniques; and the practical policy research work which encouraged the best participants to produce relevant localised policy papers on topical ICT and IG issues.
By the end of the research phase, 23 papers on relevant IG and ICT policy were completed and published. The support of experts from various fields proved significant to the added value of the learning process. The work of the authors introduced a fresh breeze of thought into the already well-mapped thematic field of IG, and enabled the localisation of IG challenges and a better understanding of national or regional specificities that should be taken into account in future ICT planning.
Online Policy Research Course
In 2010, a preparatory online course on theoretical policy research and methodology was offered. The course introduced analytical insights in challenging ICT and IG topics that have an intra-ACP and developmental dimension, with the introduction of a case-study approach and local and regional content.
The course, held between 4 October and 26 November 2010, had several purposes::
Based on the interest in certain topics, the participants were divided into eight smaller thematic groups of 5-10 participants, in order to allow each group to easily discuss and develop policy research plans related to the chosen topic, and to allow for more constructive group discussions. Each group was supervised by an experienced Diplo associate. The eight thematic groups were:
As a result, the selected participants produced excellent research proposals on various issues that were impacted by ICT and IG. Proposals included analysis into the use of ICT in educational systems; ways in which the Internet could be made a safer place, especially for children; strategies to lower the cost of Internet provisions and the bridge the digital divide; and the adoption of e-health services in developing countries.
Starting in January 2011, the participants were guided by qualified tutors and assisted by a pool of regional experts towards developing intra-ACP policy research projects relevant to their countries and regions. Emphasis was placed on promoting and maintaining cohesion in the research learning network groups. Twenty-three papers on relevant IG and ICT policy were completed and published by March 2011. Some research papers were written in French, to reflect the local needs identified by their authors. The abstracts of the papers were printed in a Book of Abstracts publication under the ACP Programme.
The Book of Abstracts, as well as all the individual abstracts, are available for download here.