Prof Richard Heeks - Research
Richard works in the growing field of development informatics, also known as ICT4D - information and communication technologies for development. This seeks to understand the relation between informatics technologies (the Internet, computing, mobile telephony, etc) and key socio-economic development processes such as poverty alleviation, economic growth, social equality, and environmental sustainability.
As Chair of Development Informatics, Richard directs the Centre for Development Informatics, the largest academic group dedicated to ICT4D work.
The Centre''s research outputs can be found in two edited working paper series; one on "Development Informatics", one on "iGovernment". Each series also contains a set of short Briefing Papers and is linked to the ICT4D blog.
Richard's research interests include:
a) IT Sector and Enterprise Development
Richard undertook the original benchmark study of the Indian software industry. He has subsequently developed the Software Export Success Model, and analysed the software sector using models of comparative advantage. Current work looks at issues facing the emerging mass of IT sector microenterprises including the growth of "social outsourcing": outsourcing of IT services to social enterprises in poor communities.
b) Conceptualising ICT4D
Richard produced the first journal special issue aiming to provide better conceptual foundations for ICT4D. He developed the widely-used "design-reality gap" model that helps analyse project failure and success. He works on the role of actor-network theory in development.
Richard has been one of the world's leading academic analysts on e-government: use of ICTs in the public sector. His foundational work includes the most-downloaded paper analysing e-government research, and the first international textbook on e-government, Implementing and Managing eGovernment.
d) ICTs and Sustainability
Richard's work seeks to understand the relation of ICTs to climate change, and also includes the most highly-cited paper on ICT4D failure and success.