Professor Dorothea Kleine

Personal profile

Dorothea Kleine’s research investigates sustainable human development, global justice, and the potential role of digital technologies in making progress towards these aims.

She is also the Director of the award-winning interdisciplinary ICT4D Centre at RHUL – see This internationally leading centre brings together key scholars, practitioners and postgraduate students working in the field of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D).

Further, Dorothea Kleine is a Faculty Associate at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.


Her key research interests are:

  • Sustainable and just development futures in the global South (and North)
  • Digital geographies and digital engaged geographical practice
  • Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) as understood through the lens of the capabilities approach and sustainable development
  • Sustainable/ethical consumption research, food geographies, trade justice and Fair Trade

Themes such as participation, gender, justice and choice run strongly through her work. She has conducted research in Latin America (Brazil; Chile), Europe (UK, Germany), South Asia (India) and Africa (Kenya; South Africa).


Dorothea Kleine is strongly committed to research which is both academically excellent and can have a positive impact on the global challenges we face today. Thus her work includes participatory action research in partnership with local communities and marginalised groups, theoretical reflections on the need to redefine “development”, evaluation of NGO programmes, as well as international keynotes, scientific advisory roles and speaking at global UN policy conferences.


She has written and published extensively on these subjects and her most recent book is Technologies of Choice: ICTs, Development and the Capabilities Approach (2013, MIT Press). Her Choice Framework tool is widely used internationally by scholars and practitioners - the user group pages can be found here: As a leading expert in ICT4D, she recently edited the field-defining ICT4D Section of the International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society (ICA-Wiley, 2015, with Prof David Grimshaw).


Before joining Royal Holloway, Dorothea Kleine held posts at the University of Cambridge and at the University of Bonn. Educated at the University of Munich (LMU and TUM) and the University of Oxford, she holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has conducted collaborative research with and/or advised UNICEF, UNEP, EuropeAid, DFID, GIZ, IDRC, private sector organisations and NGOs.

Research interests

  • Recent research projects include:

    • 2015-2016 UNICEF “Cross-cultural toolkit for participatory engagement with children in debates about digital futures”, with Dr Sammia Poveda and Gemma Pearson

    • 2015-16 ESRC-CONFAP Newton Grant “Food 2.0: Using mobile phones and participatory film to express visions of sustainable food futures – youth views from Rio and London” (£89,546); Joint PI with partners at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Observatorio de Favelas and Ovalhouse Theatre

    • 2014-15 TECH4RIED Project Grant “Technology for rural innovation and education” (=£78,000), Department for Science and Technology, South Africa; as Senior Scientific Advisor on the Choice Framework, collaboration with Council for Scientific and Industrial research (CSIR)

    • 2014-15 RHUL Creativity Theme Research Fund: “Green IT in a Digital Generation” (£1000) event series co-organised by Dr Yasaman Soltan-Zadeh, Rafael Font and Vera Hoelscher   

    • 2012-2013 UNICEF  “ICT4D for child-focused development work” (£28,000); PI, with Dr David Hollow and Sammia Poveda; collaboration with UNICEF Office of Research, Florence

    • 2011-2013 ESRC-DFID Choices Project “Leveraging Buying Power for Development – Ethical consumption and public procurement in Brazil and Chile”; (ES/I033904/1, £282,753); Principal Investigator with colleagues Dr Tomás Ariztía (Universidad Diego Portales, Chile) and Prof Roberto Bartholo (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).





I am interested in supervising PhD students on topics in digital geographies, ICT4D, development theory, Fair Trade and ethical consumption.

Particularly, in the following areas:

  • Theorising engaged digital geographies
  • The capability approach and ICT4D
  • Big Data and new digital tools for participation and co-design
  • Gender and ICTs or online representation
  • Ethical consumption and digital tools
  • Conceptualisations, translations and digital representations of fairness across spatial and cultural distance

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