SIRCA Programme

SIRCA I (2008-2011) SIRCA II (2011-2014) SIRCA III (2015-2017)

The SIRCA program, currently in its third iteration, brings together the endeavors of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada) and the Singapore Internet Research Centre (SiRC, Singapore) to develop cross-cutting theoretical frameworks and a research agenda in thematic areas of open development. Predicated on the increasing spread of information and communication technology (ICT) solutions, new digitally-enabled forms of openness are increasingly being promoted and implemented in developing country contexts. However, evidence is still scant as to whether or not, how, and under what circumstances openness actually contributes to solving development problems. Rigorous research is essential to inform and assess current and future open activities that have positive impact on development and well-being. 

SIRCA III is the first global and comprehensive exploration of open development and aims to develop cross-cutting theoretical frameworks around digitally enabled openness, inclusion, and rights, generating a seminal output for open development. SIRCA III will fund research projects led by teams of two senior researchers and/or practitioners investigating open development topics in developing countries in Asia, Africa, or Latin America. The SIRCA III programme comprises two phases: a theoretical phase and an empirical phase. During the theoretical phase, senior research teams will be awarded funding to develop a cross-cutting theoretical framework. This framework will then be tested during the empirical phase of the programme. Additional researchers will be selected through a second call for proposals in the second phase to conduct the empirical research in close collaboration with the senior research teams. SIRCA III will also work closely with the senior research teams throughout the programme to synthesize results across teams as well as to influence policy and public opinion.​   

SIRCA started out as the Strengthening ICTD Research Capacity in Asia program during its first phase (SIRCA I), focusing on building the social science research skills of emerging Asian scholars in the ICTD space. After its success with the 15 junior researchers in Asia, the program was renamed as the Strengthening Information Society Research Capacity Alliance (SIRCA II), and was expanded to Africa and Latin America in order to improve the research capacity of the ICTD scholars in Global South. Although the focus of the programme has shifted in SIRCA III to open development, SIRCA maintains a commitment to strengthening ICTD research capacity in developing countries and will select scholars  from developing countries in the second phase of the programme. These scholars will receive mentoring and support from the senior research teams to build their intellectual leadership and critical research skills.

​SIRCA III​ Ongoing Projects

The Strengthening Information Society Research Capacity Alliance (SIRCA) III programme hosted by SiRC has made important milestones on research about Open Development.

Six empirical projects have been selected to interrogate six open development theory developed in Phase I, an approach that is relatively rare in ICT4D. Projects are taking place in developing countries, where teams have finalized methodologies and begun fieldwork:

  1. ​Open and/or Apolitical? A critical re‐examination of Open Information Systems 
    By Janaki Srinivasan / Bidisha Chaudhuri (International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore)

  2. Exploring the role of “learning as development” in open information systems – a case study from West Bengal, India 
    By Purnabha Dasgupta / Linus Kendall (Development Research Communication and Services Centre)

  3. Resources, Learning and Inclusion in Open Development
    By Marion Walton (University of Cape Town) / Andy Dearden (Sheffield Hallam University) / Melissa Densmore (University of Cape Town)

  4. How do farmers’ digital literacy levels, socioeconomic status, literacy, gender and land ownership status, influence their ability to benefit from open data? 
    By Chiranthi Rajapakse / Piyumi Gamage (LIRNEasia)

  5. Elements of Trust in an Open Model: Exploring the Role and Place of Trust in Open Education and Urban Services in the Global South
    By Richard Ling (Nanyang Technological University) / John Traxler (University of Wolverhampton)

  6. Can citizens’ ability to access, participate and collaborate in urban services make the urban governance system more trustworthy?
    By Satyarupa Shekhar Swain (Citizen consumer and civic Action Group) / David Sadoway (Nanyang Technological University)

  7. A Critical Capability Approach to Open Development
    By Yingqin Zheng (Royal Holloway, University of London) / Bernd Carsten Stahl (De Montfort University)

  8. Using the critical capability approach to empirically analyse the design and implementation of the open government initiative on education sector in Tanzania
    By Goodiel Moshi / Deo Shao (University of Dodoma)

  9. Open development – A focus on organizational norms and power redistribution
    By Anita Gurumurthy / Parminder Jeet Singh (IT for Change)

  10. Digitisation as ‘openness’? Mapping electronic governance and shifting politics of land in West Bengal, India 
    By Sumandro Chattapadhyay (Centre for Internet and Society) / Himadri Chatterjee (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

  11. Public Engagement in Open Development: A Knowledge Stewardship Approach 
    By Katherine Reilly / Juan Pablo Alperin (Simon Fraser University)

  12. Understanding the structures and mechanisms that foster stewardship in open development
    By Jean-Paul Van Belle / Paul Mungai (University of Cape Town)​​

For more about the SIRCA programme, click here.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​