The project

Recent developments in web-based and mobile technologies hold considerable promise to overcome these problems. They allow linking science-based models of dynamic natural processes with participatory monitoring and broad information accessibility. ICT-based virtual platforms enable and encourage users to share relevant environmental information such as the observation of infected crops, rainfall and water availability or a malaria-mosquito densities. Digital media complement traditional organising agents for collective action; they set in motion a 'logic of connective action' where even fragmented populations share (often personalized) content across media networks; the shared content in turn contributes to collective knowledge and coordinated action. Our central research question is: How can life-science knowledge, digital technologies and responsible innovation concepts be leveraged in development contexts to build inclusive virtual platforms for environmental information that enable connective action for addressing development challenges in crop, water, health and wildlife management?

To maximize local relevance, usability and equitable access to these technologies, we apply and further develop the responsible innovation approach, characterized by anticipation of future scenarios, reflexivity about innovation choices, inclusion of different actors and viewpoints, and responsiveness to changing societal demands and concerns. By applying responsible innovation concepts across different life-science domains, the EVOCA programme will generate a thorough understanding of the conditions for successful virtual platforms that enable participatory monitoring and effective action in development contexts. It will thereby make a major contribution to the combination of ICT-based participatory technologies and life-science knowledge, and to our understanding of how inclusive digital platforms can enable connective action for irrigation, livestock, crop and animal disease control and resource management strategies that effectively address rural development challenges.

In a nutshell

The proposed programme will:

  • develop and apply a design framework for responsible digital innovations for development;
  • (further) develop promising participatory virtual platforms and digital applications for resource management in African rural communities;
  • study the systemic conditions for the successful embedding of such innovations in development contexts;
  • compare five cases and draw lessons for successful digital innovations for connective action in crop, water, livestock and disease management; and
  • assess how digital applications depend on and/or change innovation and research for development R4D systems.