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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Sustainable Development in Developing Economies using Information and Communication Technology

This dissertation performs multidisciplinary research to understand the relationship between leapfrogging, innovation and sustainable development. The opportunity for short-cutting development process and jumping to an advanced stage directly has been termed ‘‘leapfrogging’’. This concept highlights the possibilities for developing countries to leapfrog barriers and move rapidly towards sustainability. Leapfrogging for development has striking similarities with the Christensen’s concept of “Disruptive Innovation”.  Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) provide the most visible example of leapfrogging. While there is large body of anecdotal evidence into the benefits of ICT rollout, there is limited empirical evidence that examines it from a leapfrogging and innovation perspective.  The dissertation performs detailed empirical analysis based on cluster analysis on ICT for development case studies to explore the relationship sustainable development has with innovation and leapfrogging. Several interesting characteristics for sustainability are identified from the analysis of fifty five case studies. Based on these, we discuss some recommendations for future initiatives in this domain that would prove helpful to maximize sustainability.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.