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Digital Global Development

The most important transformations in international development increasingly involve digital technology. As blockchain is now widely used to track funding transmissions and ease migrant remittances, new forms of communication, identification technologies, and digital payment solutions are redefining development practice and people’s experiences of humanitarian governance and finance. Mass information collected about populations – for instance, social network and mobility data from phones – increasingly fuels the targeted development of new products and guides humanitarian assistance in crises. Online work platforms and remote learning opportunities have become ubiquitous, triggering the global spread of digital skills trainings and digital entrepreneurship programmes. 

The Digital Global Development cluster focuses on the role of digital technology in the context of international development and humanitarianism. It aims to build capacity in research collaboration across disciplines at the University of Edinburgh, while generating a fruitful exchange of ideas and research insights internationally.

This cluster is led by Dr Andreas Hackl and Dr Juli Huang.

Digital Refugee Livelihoods and Decent Work - Towards inclusion in a fairer digital economy

The digitization of the world of work is fundamentally transforming how refugees can make a livelihood and obtain employment. A rapidly expanding global digital economy harbours countless new opportunities but it also poses a range of challenges and risks. A new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) now explores the growing role of digital economies for refugees, including case studies from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Featuring cluster lead Andrea Hackl, this event was held on April 29th 2021, and was jointly organized by the ILO’s Labour Migration Branch (MIGRANT), the Programme Improving Prospects for Host Communities and Forcibly Displaced Persons (PROSPECTS) and the Employment, Labour Markets and Youth Branch (EMPLAB). 

Find out more

Event Recording

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Digital Livelihoods studies online work, digital economies, and digital skills training among refugees living in cities. The project seeks to understand the reality of refugee work at a time of digital transformations from a variety of angles: from the lives and work of refugees themselves, but also from the perspective of online work platforms, digital initiatives, and training programmes. 

Our Researchers
Andreas Hackl
digital economies
international development
Middle East

Andreas Hackl

social media

Maggie Dwyer

Social Media
social media activism
mediatised conflict
Great Lakes region
primary healthcare
community governance
data extractivism

Jean-Benoit Falisse

Political Communications
Social Media
Chris Speed
design informatics
internet of things
design thinking
digital economy

Chris Speed

Design Informatics and Data Science
Digital Design
Juli Huang
social enterprise
data economies
international development
anthropology of money
South Asia
anthropology of data
gamified learning
alternative currencies

Juli Huang


If you're interested in our work, get in touch