Our Research

Current Research

Access to Knowledge and Mobile Technologies 

Together with our partners of the Access to Knowledge Global Academy, A2K4D and the Yale ISP are co-editing a book project analyzing mobile telephony within the Access to Knowledge framework. In recent years, the rapid and worldwide spread of mobile technologies has greatly expanded access to basic telephony and a wide range of Internet-based services. The book looks at opportunities and challenges that arise from this development, especially in terms of access and control. The focus on mobile telephony allows the different chapters to analyze a complex network of actors and their relationships with states, private companies, and citizens. Mobile phones or mobile technologies are the sites of investigation for current struggles over access to information, surveillance, control, subversion, privacy etc. and it explores mobile telephony as the source of opportunities and challenges, especially with respect to access and control. The book is edited collaboratively by Ramesh Subramanian, A2K Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale University, and Stefanie Felsberger, Senior Researcher at A2K4D and brings together scholars, activists, and other subject-matter experts from across the globe.

Knowledge and Innovation Metrics Research 

There is a need to better understand and account for the host of innovation activities that reflect the unique and diverse realities of countries of the Global South. Existing metrics of knowledge and innovation, including both composite indices and surveys, aggregate vast amounts of data and assess countries from both the Global North and South against a single yardstick. While this is useful for cross country comparisons, the particularities of innovation in the Global South mean, the region underperforms against its peers from the Global North. Informality prevails across economies in Africa and many countries in the Arab region and is a defining characteristic of innovation activities. Innovation as such takes place in forms that differ from those in the global North. A more complete assessment of these activities is necessary to better guide innovation policy makers to encourage and enable innovation for more sustainable development.   Our research in the area of alternate metrics of knowledge and innovation spans both Egypt and other Arab and North African countries as well as Africa as a whole.  

Artificial Intelligence and Inclusion

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now at the forefront of debates on the changing role of technology and its impact on socioeconomic and human development. Issues surrounding AI, inequality and developmental impacts can be related to earlier narratives around information and communication technologies (ICTs) and growth, inequality, and development. We are embarking on research in this field, stemming from our interest in research on technologies and how they relate to inclusion and development. Our work focuses on data as the major input for AI, which consequently leads to exploring issues on the ethics of AI and in the region.

Scaling Innovation Inclusively, Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR)

We look at how open and collaborative innovation can help scale the impacts of next-generation technologies to promote gender equality, youth employment, and other aspects of inclusion.

Previous Research

Scaling Up African Technology Startups, Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR)

How can open collaborative innovation help businesses scale up and seize the new opportunities of a global knowledge economy? And which intellectual property and associated knowledge governance systems will best ensure that the social and economic benefits of innovation are shared inclusively across society as a whole? Our research focused on four priority themes: high technology hubs; informal sector innovation; indigenous and local entrepreneurs; and metrics, laws, and policies.

Harnessing the Economic Power of Data in the Middle East and North Africa

The project explored innovative technologies and approaches to improve data production, management, and usability in the MENA region from 2015-2017. The project was led by A2K4D, in partnership with the Center for Continuing Education at Birzeit University and AlAkhawayn University in Morocco.

Open Data for Development MENA

​​In 2016, we were was selected to be the first node for The Open Data for Development (OD4D) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region. The node functioned as a coordinating body, providing support and initiative for the data ecosystem across the region.

Knowledge Sharing Project for Renewable Energy in Egypt

​​​​​​In partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Egypt, we undertook a year-long project with the objective of encouraging Access to Information in the solar energy sector in Egypt through a series of events and case studies.

Mobilization for Change: The Role of the Networked Public Sphere in Advancing Civic Participation and Collective Action in the Arab Region

​​​​​In partnership with Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, we assessed the impact of the networked public sphere on civic engagement and democratic transitions in the Arab world. The project included Innova Tunisia and the Arab Policy Institute as our regional partners, both based in Tunisia.

Global Censorship and Access to Knowledge

​​​​​​We co-edited and contributed to a book, “Global Censorship and Access to Knowledge: Shifting Modes, Persisting Paradigms” in collaboration with Access to Knowledge Global Academy partners. The book includes chapters analyzing the different forms of censorship that are utilized today by private and public actors, with cases from the United States, Syria, Brazil, India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Burma, and Egypt.

Copyright and Creativity

​​​​​​We have contributed to several studies exploring copyright and creativity. Fieldwork exploring artistic expressions in Egypt and Tunisia has been undertaken with support from the Open AIR project.

Open Source Software

Our team, led by Dr.Nagla Rizk, drafted the National Strategy for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Egypt, as requested by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. The proposed vision of the FOSS strategy is to build a well-developed knowledge society those benefits from a healthy ecosystem of IT-producing and IT-using sectors in Egypt.

International Media Concentration

​​​​​​​We were a member of a global research project on media concentration in 30 different countries in partnership with the Columbia Institute of Tele-information. The project aimed at a data-driven analysis of trends and their drivers for 12 major media industries in each country, for a period from 1984 to 2008.

Platforms

MENA Data Platform

MENA Data Platform

In 2018, we launched the MENA Data platform as a hub for regional data activities. The platform acts like an online repository and meeting place, bringing together work around data for development from across the region.

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Solar Data Platform Logo

Solar Data Platform

​​​​​​Data collected from actors along the Solar Energy sector’s value-chain is shared and visualized as open data on the Solar Data Platform. The interactive online platform aims to address the scarcity of information, data and knowledge shared from, and within, the sector.                                     

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