Notes from the I International Workshop on Research in ICT for Human Development, at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, and held in Fuenlabrada, Spain, on May 13th and 14th, 2010. More notes on this event: ict4hd10.
Round Table: What is the role of Latin America on Research on ICT4D?
Andrés Martínez, EHAS Foundation (Spain)
EHAS Foundation does research on what works and what does not work in the field of Health and ICTs in Latin America.
David Chávez Muñoz, Pontificia Universidad Católica (Peru)
Main problems in Latinamerica: poor, polarized, full with injustices, fragmented, multicultural, economically and technologically dependent from North America, Europe and North Asia, emigration, increasing destruction of the environment, etc.
ICTs are not the factor that lead to human development, but a catalyst. Can we nevertheless maximize the effect of ICTs in Latin America so that they contribute in achieving higher levels of development?
The problem is that the resources for R+D+i are not invested in these matters, but in other “strategic” issues.
A case study: the spread of broadband. While in developed countries the deployment of broadband has been successful for 99% of the population, in Latin America it has only succeeded in urban areas, but not in suburbs or in rural areas, where it has been a complete failure. The SDH/ATM + ADSL model is not viable in rural and marginal Latin America. We need R+D+i that produce other viable alternatives such as SDH/ATM + LMDS/MMDS, SDH/ATM + WiMAX, GSM/LTE, etc.
Structural problems to perform such kind of research:
- Low articulation of actors, problems and scientific integration.
- Education and training.
- Methodologies, tools or infrastructures.
- Low articulation amongst social actors.
- Duplicity of efforts.
- Effectism, short-term planning.
- Paradigmatic paralysis.
We have to build R+D+i networks: To reach a critical mass, to stop brain drain, etc.
Iván Hernández, Universidad del Cauca (Colombia)
Key factors for research in ICT4D in Latin America to be successful:
- Aim at economic development.
- Identify opportunities.
- Create businesses, build industry around ICTs.
- Improve the quality of life.
Pablo Belzarena García, Universidad de la República (Uruguay)
Two main needs:
- Policies to exclusively fund research aimed at human development;
- Need for governments and other institutions to adopt the outcomes of research in development fields: research + development.
A good example: Plan Ceibal. Besides being a good applied project, the Plan Ceibal has become a good research engine, has it has triggered lots of research projects around it. Now the challenge is how to apply the outcomes of such research.
Fernando Balducci, Fundación Fundatel (Argentina)
ICTs can be a social inclusion tool.
Knowledge has to be transferred and appropriated by the target population of development research. If 90% (as it happens) of the outcomes remain within university walls, research is a failuer.