LIRNEasia has been at the forefront of big data analysis for development in Sri Lanka, conducting in-house analysis to generate actionable insights across a range of policy domains. On 6th May 2016, LIRNEasia and the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka jointly convened a planning meeting on building better models for forecasting the propagation of infectious disease such as dengue in Sri Lanka. The meeting was intended to lay the foundation for a multi-disciplinary collaboration engaging health informatics specialists, epidemiologists, and data scientists to identify research priorities and opportunities. The participants included the following: Madhushi Bandara, Junior Researcher, LIRNEasia Prof Vajira Dissanayake (Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka, Biomedical Informatics Programme – Postgraduate Institute of Medicine) Dr. M.
I had seen the draft, but as with all UN organizations it took some time for the official text to be published. By that time, we had moved on, and it did not make the blog. But here are the operative paragraphs of the outcome document of the Paro Meeting on the Asia Pacific Information Superhighway: Call on Asia-Pacific regional cooperation organisations, including subregional organizations such as BIMSTEC and ECO, and regional policy think tanks such as LIRNEasia, to facilitate regional cooperation in ICT infrastructure and promote regional connectivity as a regional public good, Request all regional cooperation organisations in Asia and the Pacific, especially BIMSTEC and ECO to actively facilitate the regional cooperation in ICT infrastructure and promote regional connectivity as a regional public good and as well as an integral component of regional integration process in its respective regions, Agree to propose to the ESCAP Committee on Information and Communications Technology and Committee on Transport at their fourth sessions, respectively that, through its relevant working groups, ESCAP’s intergovernmental agreements make provisions for the synchronized deployment of infrastructure along transport networks, Further agree to support at the fourth session of the ESCAP Committee on Information and Communications Technology, on […]
LIRNEasia research is extensively quoted in this Sunday Times article by Nalaka Gunawardene. The past decade has seen the highest number of telephone connections being given out across South Asia. It happened thanks to what researchers call the ‘budget telecom model’, where low cost technologies coupled with business process innovations helped telecom operators to reduce costs. First, regulatory reforms lowered or removed entry barriers for more operators to enter markets. Then intense competition brought down sign-up and call charges, so phone users started calling more.
We don’t really have a formal position. But we collect data on gender and country representation, among other things, in all the training events we run and report them. From the time I used to be involved in admitting students to graduate studies, I’ve had to think about and act on issues of gender and ethnic balance. I’ve never been for quotas; but have always been committed to affirmative action. And I believe I was responsible for admitting some of the most diverse classes of grad students to my School.

Running a country on Skype

Posted by on January 30, 2013  /  0 Comments

At LIRNEasia, we have had the making of place irrelevant as an organizational objective. We think we have more or less succeeded. But the government of Thailand seems to have done way better. Millions of people across the globe have cut the tethers to their offices, working remotely from home, airport lounges or just about anywhere they can get an Internet connection. But the political party governing Thailand has taken telecommuting into an altogether different realm.
RESEARCH ASSISTANT VACANCY: We are currently looking to fill the role of a Research Assistant. The candidate must already be enrolled or choose to enroll in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil) program in Agriculture or related program with an emphasis in ICT, at a Sri Lankan Institute. WHAT WE OFFER: In addition to a competitive, output‐dependent remuneration package, the position will enable a motivated researcher who takes advantage of the learning ‐conducive work environment and networking opportunities to build a rewarding career as an international knowledge professional. HOW TO APPLY: Please submit a detailed CV (no more than four pages), phone/email contacts of two non-related references who can speak to relevant experience/abilities, as well as a recent writing sample of not more than 10 pages to by 15 Aug 2012 or earlier.
We are currently looking to fill the role of Junior Researcher with one or more self‐motivated, quality‐conscious individuals with strong analytical skills.  Send in your application on or before 30 September DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES: As a Junior Researcher at LIRNEasia you will be expected to make significant contributions to projects from a rapidly expanding research and capacity‐building portfolio.  You will be expected to: conduct independent policy‐relevant research, subject to deadlines and peer review summarize and logically present findings of your work so that team members can rapidly digest results communicate research findings in written, graphical and oral presentations to multiple external audiences take primary responsibility for coordinating research and capacity building related events including international      meetings, training programs prioritize workload with little guidance and deliver on deadline take responsibility for quality of your work demonstrate self-confidence and initiative in work you undertake develop strong, personal relationships with other LIRNEasia team members in Sri Lanka and other countries with whom you have regular contact use statistics and econometric concepts with a high level of competency undertake significant local research-related travel within Sri Lanka and overseas ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS:  Essential criteria for the suitable candidate include: A Bachelor’s level qualifications in economics, law, […]
At LIRNEasia, we have used social media to drive traffic. As people spend more time on social media, they have to spend less time on something else. We were beginning to see the drop in blog readership (could have been caused by other things too). When we started tweeting and using Facebook, traffic picked up again. So we see the efficacy of social media.
LIRNEasia’s signature has been a focus, you could even say a single-minded fixation, on taking the results of its research to the policy process. There is a line between evidence-based advocacy and just plain advocacy that we have tried not to cross. The NYT article below, explores that line in the context of Amicus briefs by law professors in the United States. It is important to think about the line, to worry about it, and to try to stay on the right side. Of course, the safest course is that of eschewing advocacy altogether.
In 2005, we were approached by citizens and professionals to help raise awareness about the dangers of “an inland tsunami,” dam breaches. With the help of committed professionals, a small grant of around LKR 700,000 (around USD 7000) from the local initiatives fund of CIDA, an extremely generous partner in Vanguard Management, and the active involvement of community leaders including many from Sarvodaya, we conducted a participatory research project that remains to this day one of our most successful and rewarding efforts. The end result was a USD 71 million plus World Bank soft loan to help repair 32 of the most endangered dams. If not for that initiative, one wonders whether things would be worse than today, where we are suffering the effects of multiple small tanks breached, but all the big ones safe, so far. I wrote about the need to pay more attention to dam safety and maintenance, after the first flood of 2011.
An external evaluation of the Pan Asian Networking program under which LIRNEasia was funded since 2006 has just been published on the IDRC website.  There are many references to LIRNEasia, one of the larger projects funded by PAN, but I found the para below the most intriguing: Influence on telecommunications policy reform has been one of the strongest areas of the program’s outcomes, at least in terms of explicit causality, specifically from the work of LIRNEasia.  According to many informants, however, LIRNEasia, is a special case given the organizational culture, the numbers of people devoted to working almost exclusively on policy issues, the specific policy arena in which they work, and the strong personality at the center of the group. While LIRNEasia successes are notable, the external review panel urges the program not to set LIRNEasia as a standard for outcomes, since their achievements would be difficult to replicate elsewhere. The quotation has been taken from the Findings Brief, prepared by the IDRC Evaluation Unit, though the same sentiments are also found in the External Review Report.
CHAKULA is a newsletter produced by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Named after the Swahili word for ‘food’, it aims to mobilise African civil society around ICT policy for sustainable development and social justice issues. The latest issue features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO Rohan Samarajiva, but it is not the only reason why we thought of highlighting the issue. The content is interesting and very readable. We publish two e-interviews from July 2010 issue here fully, as they are not available on public domain.

TRAI Chair visits LIRNEasia

Posted by on November 23, 2009  /  1 Comments

TRAI Chair Dr J.S. Sarma, Principal Advisor Mr N. Parameswaran and Advisor (Convergence) Mr S.K.
“When a business model, rather than direct government action, is delivering the goods the most appropriate government action is that which supports the business model. Policy and regulatory actions must be derived more from analysis of the requirements of the business model and less from public administration theory.” How it applies to Internet and broadband is what Rohan Samarajiva, Chair and CEO, LIRNEasia explained in his keynote speech at the workshop ‘Expanding access to the Internet and broadband for development’ on November 16, 2009, at the Internet Governance forum 2009.  His presentation entitled, ‘How the developing world may participate in the global Internet Economy:  Innovation driven by competition’, can be downloaded here. The session was chaired by Dimitri Ypsilanti, Head of Information, Communication and Consumer Policy Division, OECD.
LIRNEasia was happy to accept the invitation of Mongolia’s DREAM IT project to conduct a training workshop on communicating for influence on policy for researchers in six sub-projects. The workshop was held on 16-17 October in rapidly changing Ulaan Baator in conditions of light snow and high enthusiasm. This was LIRNEasia’s first formal interaction with Mongolia, outside the realm of capacity building. We hope the multiple contacts that were established, with researchers, with government entities, and with media will lead to deeper relations in the future.
Few days back we heard that flat rate was the way forward. Here is the riposte, in words from experts (including LIRNEasia) and in new offerings from Reliance. Let the debate continue. The experts see business sense around sachet pricing, especially for a low income group subscriber in the villages of India, who is mostly a prepaid user and does not have a big budget to spend. They say sachet pricing can yield results not only for Inetrnet penetration, but other services other than voice.