The Digital Nations project is a research consortium founded by the MIT Media Laboratory in collaboration with The Center for International Development at Harvard that focuses on alleviating the problems of poverty, poor health care, education and communtiy development in nations that have not yet expierenced the digital revolution.

The project will focus on the community with the greatest needs: childen, eldery, underserved communities, and developing nations. They want to better life by bringing new technologies and ideas using innovative strategies to accomplish their goals.

Research Themes:

Action Projects:

  • Learning Hubs
  • Lincos: Little Intelligent Communities
  • Computer Clubhouses
  • Silver Stringers
  • Health Nets
  • Museums and science centers

Membership Information
Benefits There are seven primary benefits of membership in Digital Nations:

  • Collaboration on Research Projects. Members will interact closely with Media Lab researchers, gaining valuable insights into emerging technologies and a head start in planning for early implementation. Through these interactions, members will also ensure that their special needs and concerns (e.g., needs of rural communities in the developing world) are factored into the design and planning of Media Lab projects. Existing sponsors have found that close interaction with Media Lab researchers generates a flow of ideas and creative options that have an impact far beyond the immediate research projects, helping to stimulate and inform their own efforts to develop solutions.
  • Consultation Visits to the Media Laboratory. Members have rights to visit all research labs at the Media Laboratory, see demonstrations of research projects, meet with researchers, and discuss the implications and applications of Media Lab research. Such visits are a good way to educate senior policy makers and senior researchers about new technologies and new methodologies.
  • Sharing of Best Practices on Action Projects. Digital Nations will help organize and coordinate a collection of Action Projects. Existing Media Lab Action Projects (such as Lincos, Computer Clubhouse Network, and Silver Stringers) have been recognized as “best practice” organizations within their fields. The Media Lab will help Digital Nations members understand the technologies and practices of these Action Projects so that they can create similar projects within their own countries.
  • e-Readiness and e-Development Plans. Combining the policy and analysis expertise of Harvard’s Center for International Development with the technical insight of the MIT Media Laboratory, the Digital Nations consortium will produce e-readiness assessments and interactive computer tools that aid creation of e-development plans. In addition, the consortium will conduct an annual survey of each member's IT sector, including not only connectivity, but also topics such as latent demand for IT services, educational and community readiness, regulatory readiness, investment opportunities, and effectiveness of current development initiatives. This e-readiness information and the associated computer tools can provide the factual basis for approaching international development banks for funding of development programs. Digital Nations researchers will further aid member countries by serving an advisory and advocacy role in obtaining financingfor strategies suggested by the e-readiness survey and strategy tools.
  • In-Country Visits and Videoconferences. Digital Nations researchers will visit member countries to gain a better understanding of local projects and issues, provide advice on projects of joint interest, and raise awareness of Digital Nations ideas and projects within the member countries. Representatives of the sponsoring members can also set up videoconferences with Digital Nations researchers, to discuss ongoing projects or policy issues.
  • Industrial Relationships. The Media Laboratory will help Digital Nations members identify and cultivate appropriate industrial partners for technology-based projects within their countries. The Media Lab is very well suited to this task: more than 150 major companies from around the world are members of Media Lab consortia, and many of them have expressed a strong interest in collaborating with Digital Nations members.
  • Media Laboratory Fellows.Non-corporate members of Digital Nations will each have an existing Media Lab graduate student designated as a Fellow, named after the sponsoring member. This graduate student Fellow will receive full-scholarship tuition and stipend, will work on research projects of special interest to the sponsoring member, and will serve as a point of contact for personal interactions between the Media Lab and the member. The Media Lab can not guarantee that the Fellow will come from the member country. But the Media Lab will practice “affirmative access”: advising members on how to identify qualified graduate-student applicants from their own countries.
There are two levels of members in Digital Nations:
  • Basic Members: all of the above benefits
    Cost: $250,000 (US) Per year for 5 years.
  • Strategic Research Partners: Participation on the executive committee, right to send a full-time visitor-in-residence to the research facility, increased research opportunities.
    Cost: $750,000 (US) Per year for 5 years.


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