Research award 2020: Disruptive Technology

Deadline: September 18, 2019

Please note that all applications must be submitted online.

IDRC is one of the world’s leaders in generating new knowledge to meet global challenges. We offer a number of research awards providing a unique opportunity to enhance research skills and gain a fresh perspective on crucial development issues. These one‐year, paid, in‐house programs of training and mentorship allow research award recipients to pursue their research goals and work in one of IDRC’s dynamic program teams.

The speed of current technological breakthroughs is without precedent. Shaped the right way, Artificial intelligence (AI), big data, the internet of things, genomics or 3-d printing can advance any of the Sustainable Development Goals—notably the delivery of health, education, agriculture and economic opportunities—in potentially transformational ways. Sometimes called the “fourth industrial revolution”, these changes are particularly challenging for low and middle-income countries, who typically lack access to the processes of technological design and development. This limits their ability to influence factors that will profoundly shape their future. This revolution will be guided by the choices that people make today: the world in 50 to 100 years will be shaped by how we think about, invest in and govern these powerful new technologies today.

Under this theme, IDRC is seeking a research award recipient to conduct research on one of the following areas:

  • The contribution of disruptive technologies, such as AI, big data, etc., to improving development sectors, such as education, governance or gender
  • Better understanding how individuals, organizations and/or governments can adapt and harness disruptive technologies to their needs, including understanding how to build talent and skills in this area amongst marginalized groups (e.g. women in STEM). This includes a focus on how developing countries can build the right capacities to take advantage of the changing nature of work.
  • Exploring the governance of disruptive technologies, notably how public policies and regulation -  globally or in developing countries - should be designed to better shape these new technologies to ensure they are ethical, rights-based and inclusive

The successful candidate will allocate 50% of their time for a research project relating to the above topic(s) under the guidance of a senior program officer. The awardee will be expected to prepare a research plan, provide progress updates during the year, and present their findings at the end of the year. The other 50% of the successful candidate’s time will include contributions to IDRC program operations, which may include synthesizing and disseminating project outcomes and results; participating in program and project development, monitoring, and evaluation; supporting program communications and research dissemination activities; and preparing internal and external reports.

Applicants should clearly outline their qualifications for this position and explain how this opportunity will advance their career goals.

Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the requirements stated in the IDRC Research Awards 2020 call page.

Candidates should also have the following qualifications:

  • Minimum of a master’s degree in computer science, engineering, communications, social sciences, development studies, interdisciplinary studies, or a related field;
  • General interest in research on technology, technology policy, media and communications, and international development;
  • Specific interest and experience working in a development organization and/or conducting research or working in a developing country is an asset; and
  • Strong research, analysis, and writing skills for different audiences (academic, policy, public).

Your research proposal should demonstrate:

  • Relevance to the theme and one or more of the topics listed in this call
  • Strong understanding of the broader issues in this thematic area
  • Ability to outline feasible objectives and a clearly defined research methodology

Language requirements:

  • Superior verbal and written communication skills in English
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of French or Spanish would be an asset