The Web Foundation and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) are looking to fund case study research on the emerging impacts of open data in developing countries.

Open data policies are spreading across the world: but how does open data play out on the ground in different settings? What is needed for the potential transparency and accountability, innovation and enterprise, and social inclusion benefits of open data to be realised? How are different actors using open data to support good governance, better decision making, and better development outcomes? Those are just a few of the questions that were explored at the ‘Critical Development Perspectives on Open Government Data’ workshop held in Brasilia just before the 2012 Open Government Partnership conference this April, where the Open Data Research network was initially established.

Building on that workshop, the Web Foundation and IDRC call is looking for researchers and research institutions based in the global south to develop detailed case studies of where open data is interacting with different governance and development issues – from setting and monitoring budgets, to developing smart city infrastructures, or improving the use of funds for agricultural improvement. Selected cases will form part of a research network over 2013, coming together to look at cross cutting themes highlighted by the different case studies.

The project will fund a series of detailed case studies that examine the emerging impacts of specific on-going open data initiatives that address key development themes. Potential cases include:

  • Open data in local and national budgeting processes
  • Open data for legislation processes and elections
  • Open data in judicial systems
  • Open data for smarter cities
  • Open data for the delivery of privately provided public services
  • Open data for the regulation of markets (e.g. extractive industries)
  • Open data for the welfare and empowerment of marginalized groups and communities (e.g. data for small farmers)
  • Open data and international development

Funding of between USD$25,000 and USD$75,000 per case is available, and the application deadline is 10th September. Find the full call and more details at

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Tim is an independent consultant and action-researcher based in Oxford, UK, and since October 2011, a PhD Student in Web Science and Social Policy with the University of Southampton.

He has a long-standing interest in online technologies and youth participation, and in recent years his work has included facilitating social reporting at the Internet Governance Forum, developing linked-data demonstrators for IKM Emergent, and supporting the emergence of an eco-system of applications of data around the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).