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 open development theory, an approach that is relatively rare in ICT4D. Projects are taking place in developing countries, where teams have finalized methodologies and begun fieldwork:

1)      How do farmers’ digital literacy levels influence their ability to benefit from open data?

By Chiranthi Rajapakse and Piyumi Gamage, LIRNEasia

2)      Can citizen science enhance trust in city governance and advance urban informatics?

By Satyarupa Shekhar Swain and David Sadoway, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group

3)      Using the critical capability approach to empirically analyze the design and implementation of the open government initiative on education sector in Tanzania

By Goodiel C. Moshi and Deo Shao, University of Dodoma

4)      Digitisation as 'openness'? Mapping electronic governance and shifting politics of land in West Bengal, India

By Sumandro Chattapadhyay and Himadri Chatterjee, The Centre for Internet and Society

5)      Understanding the structures and mechanisms that foster stewardship in open development

By Jean-Paul Van Belle and Paul Mungai, University of Cape Town

6)      A case study of situated learning practices enabled by an Open Information System for enhancing adaptive capacity to climate change in West Bengal, India

By Purnabha Dasgupta, Development Research Communication and Services Centre (DRCSC) and Linus Kendall, Sheffield Hallam University

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