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Call for Proposals: Digital Technology, Climate Resilience and Rainforest Protection (Study)

25 May 2022

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) is commissioning a study to identify the potential of digital solutions to tackle questions around rainforest protection and climate resilience in Indonesia. The study is part of the Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digital Transformation (SET) project and its thematic focus Digitalisation and Climate.

About the study 

Indonesia has the second largest rainforest in the world, but at the same time it is threatened by increasing drought and forest degradation, e.g. due to the cultivation of palm oil and illegal deforestation. Indonesia loses a significant part of its diverse and rich nature every year, stumbling into a possible ecological crisis.

The study is intended to generate empirical results and knowledge in the form of a literature review that will help answer questions around digital solutions and their impact on sustainability and rainforest protection in Indonesia. There is a wide range of digital approaches to tackle sustainability in a wider sense as well as climate change, and rainforest protection more concretely, including the use of drones and satellite to gather data, the establishment of digital platforms to exchange solutions and problems or the use of said data for the calculation of vegetation and climate models (e.g. Dwivedi et al., 2022; George et al., 2021; Pearce et al., 2019). However, the authors may specify the focus of the study in light of the identification of further digital solutions in South East Asia and Indonesia. Digital solutions do not only concern AI, digital technologies and data (Cowls et al., 2021, Brynjolfsson et al. 2014), but also social practices that foster stronger connectivity, e.g. with hackathons, platforms, and social media amongst local farmers, rangers, initiatives, government officials or NGOs (Bertello et al. 2022, O’Mahony & Bechky 2008).

Addressable study topics

The study should provide an overview of existing digital solutions and the associated (social) practices to tackle questions around rainforest protection and sustainability. Among others, the following topics could be addressed:

  • What is the role of digital solutions in the early detection of central sustainability problems, e.g. illegal deforestation or change and tipping effects of the forest due to drought?
  • How can local projects on sustainability and rainforest protection be better coordinated to enable best practices and knowledge transfer? Are there networks and approaches in other places? Could they be adopted in Indonesia?
  • How can digital formats like hackathons be used to connect local and international knowledge to find new approaches to nature protection?
  • What type of data and data sharing regulation is needed to efficiently share information on rainforest protection?

Goals and objectives

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) kindly requests the submission of a proposal for an academic study. The proposal should not exceed two pages in length and contain the following goals and objectives as well as requirements on the author’s side:

  • Brief literature overview that assesses digital solutions to climate change and mitigation with a focus on Indonesia and Southeast Asia
  • Write a concept, research design and methodology of the study related to one of the questions above 
  • Incorporate the findings from the study into the multi-stakeholder dialogue
  • Write a blogpost summarising the results for the HIIG’s Digital Society Blog
  • Compose a executive summary of one page

It is intended that the findings will be presented at a stakeholder dialogue in Indonesia, currently planned for December 2022. Responses and discussions from the dialogue could be integrated into the study, also highlighting the decisive elements of regional best practices as guidelines for future applications in Indonesia and other areas with similar challenges.

General Information 

  • Budget: EUR 16,000 (gross) 
  • Scope of the study: maximum 15,000 words 
  • Timeframe for conducting the study: July to December of 2022 
  • Mid-term report on the current state of research in September of 2022
  • Final feedback loop after editorial and academic review in late 2022

Author eligibility & requirements

Interested applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • PhD in a relevant discipline (advanced PhD students will be considered given that there is sufficient proof of experience) 
  • Excellent writing skills as evidenced by publications in academic journals 
  • Proven experience in the field of sustainability, climate resilience, digital solutions to ecological questions, or rainforest protection.
  • Familiarity with the local context (ideally experience with conducting research in South East Asia and/or Indonesia) 
  • Proficiency in English is mandatory
  • Ability to attend the multi-stakeholder dialogue in Indonesia as well as presentation of results at GEFE conference in Vietnam in late 2022 (digital or on-site; travel grants available)

Submission process

All interested applicants are invited to submit their proposal, a short curriculum vitae and a letter of motivation of a maximum of two pages using the input form below by. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the selection process latest by 20 July 2022. In case of questions, kindly refer to Moritz Timm (moritz.timm@hiig.de).

About the project 

Funded by the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digital Transformation (SET) research project has the goal of addressing issues relating to digitalisation, particularly in the Global South. With a focus on the topics of entrepreneurship, platform regulation, and the use of digitalisation for climate resiliency, the project collaborates closely with local stakeholders to build application-oriented expertise and to create an international knowledge community.

Submission form

References

Bertello, A.; Bogers, M. and De Bernardi, P. (2022). Open innovation in the face of the COVID‐19 grand challenge: insights from the Pan‐European hackathon ‘EUvsVirus’. In: R&D Management.

Brynjolfsson, E.; McAfee (2014). A. The second machine age: Work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies; WW Norton & Company.

Cowls, J., Tsamados, A., Taddeo, M., & Floridi, L. (2021). The AI gambit: Leveraging artificial intelligence to combat climate change—opportunities, challenges, and recommendations. AI & SOCIETY. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-021-01294-x

Dwivedi, Y. K., Hughes, L., Kar, A. K., Baabdullah, A. M., Grover, P., Abbas, R., Andreini, D., Abumoghli, I., Barlette, Y., & Bunker, D. (2022). Climate change and COP26: Are digital technologies and information management part of the problem or the solution? An editorial reflection and call to action. International Journal of Information Management, 63, 102456.

George, G., Merrill, R. K., & Schillebeeckx, S. J. D. (2021). Digital Sustainability and Entrepreneurship: How Digital Innovations Are Helping Tackle Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 45(5), 999–1027. https://doi.org/10.1177/1042258719899425.

O’Mahony S., Bechky, B.A. (2008). Boundary organizations: Enabling collaboration among unexpected allies. Administrative Science Quarterly 53 (3), 422-459.

Pearce, W., Niederer, S., Özkula, S. M., & Sánchez Querubín, N. (2019). The social media life of climate change: Platforms, publics, and future imaginaries. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 10(2), e569.

This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact info@hiig.de.

Stephan Bohn, Dr.

Senior Researcher & Project Lead: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society

Moritz Timm

Researcher & Project Coordinator

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