Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Franz-Ferdinand Rothe


Personal Description

My research focuses on the field of ‘ICT for Development’, which basically means using technology for ‘doing good’. Many people, knowingly or unknowingly, work related to this field, utilising technology to, for instance, help people rise from poverty, improve children’s education order to combat climate change. I am fascinated by the opportunities that lie in using ICTs for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to make this planet a better and more sustainable place. Yet, harvesting the full potential of technology for this purpose and minimizing its unintended side-effects will require us to be critical of our own work and to constantly learn from mistakes, flawed concepts and outdated paradigms. These challenges to actually achieve our vision are what drive my daily work.

After graduating from the VUB in Communication Sciences in 2015, I worked in my field of passion: development cooperation. During an internship with the United Nations in New York, I got to support the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and experienced the structures and dynamics behind this global project. My work for an NGO in Nepal and an intergovernmental organisation in Thailand in the following years allowed me to further contribute to the vision of the SDGs. Since 2018, I am combining my academic background in communication sciences and my professional experience in international development, doing my PhD on the use of technology for development as a part of SMIT.