Richard Duncombe

Richard Duncombe


Personal profile

Further information

Country Experience:

Botswana, India, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana


After 5 years experience in the private sector, Richard completed a B.Sc (hons) in Society and Technology at Middlesex Polytechnic. He then undertook an ESRC sponsored M.Sc at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex and spent a further 18 months working as a Research Officer contributing to the official evaluation of the UK Alvey Programme. After returning to the private sector for 3 years (working in Italy), he obtained a Post Graduate Teaching Qualification from the University of the West of England (UWE), and spent the next 5 years as a secondary school teacher and Head of Department for technology attached to the Government Teaching Service Management (TSM) in Botswana. During this time he commenced a DFID-sponsored PhD with the University of Manchester, and upon obtaining his doctorate, joined IDPM where he has since carried out teaching, research and consultancy concerning the relationship between information and communication technologies (ICTs) and international development.

He has journal publications in the areas of Information Systems and Development, Development Informatics and ICTs for Development (ICT4D), and has contributed book chapters as well as writing a range of other working papers and reports. He regularly reviews submissions for some leading development and ICT4D journals, and was an invited speaker at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005. He has acted as an external PhD examiner at universities in the UK, Africa and Australia, and as a research assessor. He has also carried out consultancy for the UK Department for International Development, UNIDO, UNCTAD and The World Bank. He has been an active researcher on three large international research contracts concerning ICT, enterprise and development, and has coordinated the work of partner organizations in India and Uganda.

Research interests

Richard researches the growing field of ICT4D information and communication technologies for development. This seeks to understand the relationships between information technologies (the Internet, computing, mobile telephony, etc) and key socio-economic development processes such as poverty alleviation, economic growth, social equality, and environmental sustainability. Richard is part of the Development Informatics Group, the largest academic group dedicated to ICT4D work in the UK.

The Group'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.
Richard's main research interests include:
a) Mobile phones and development (m-development): research concerning mobile phones for finance, agricultural and rural development in developing countries
b) ICT innovation systems: focusing on university-industry links and commercialisation of research in developing countries.
c) The impact of information and communication technology on the business enterprise sector in developing countries.
d) E-commerce and small enterprise development in Africa and South Asia.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Areas of expertise

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • ICT4Development
  • Information Systsems

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Digital Futures
  • Global Development Institute


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