Professor Dorothea Kleine

Faculty Professorial Research Fellow


Room number: C14b
Telephone (internal): 27954
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7954
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7954


Dorothea Kleine is a Professorial Research Fellow in the Geography Department and Deputy Director of the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SID). She leads the Digital Technologies, Data and Development Group in SIID.

Prof Kleine’s research investigates sustainable human development, global justice, and the potential role of digital technologies in making progress towards these aims (see Research pages). Her research has been supported by ESRC, EPSRC, DFID, Newton Fund, DAAD, Zeiss-Stiftung, Studienstiftung (ddV), and the EU.

Current roles:
- Chair of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Digital Geographies Working Group (DGWG)
- Principal Investigator and Convenor, ESRC Digital Development GCRF Strategic Network with 29 partners in 13 countries:
- Co-Investigator, ESRC SCArFE (£670k) Ethical Consumption in Brazil, South Africa and China
- Editorial Board Member, The Journal of Consumer Ethics
- Editorial Board Member, Information Technologies and International Development
- Member, Peer Review College, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Advisory roles for UNESCO, UNICEF, UNEP, EuropeAid, DFID, GIZ, BMZ IDRC, private sector organisations (Deutsche Telekom; GSMA) and NGOs.

Previous roles:
- 2015-2017 Faculty Associate, Harvard University, Berkman Centre for Internet and Society.
- 2013-2017 Senior Programme Committee, ICTD (IEEE/ACM), International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development
- Lead Author on UNICEF commissioned Methodology Toolkit for participatory research with children and young people. Free download:
- Associate Editor of the inaugural 30-entry ICT4D section of The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society (ICA/Wiley 2015)
- Treasurer, Developing Areas Research Group (DARG) of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2010-2016)
- External Advisor to appointment panels and academic programmes: University of Bonn (Germany); Università della Svizzera italiana (Switzerland); University of Brighton (UK)
- Reviewer for: RGS-IBG book series; Routledge; Sage; Edward Elgar; MIT Press; Geoforum; Environment and Planning A; European Urban and Regional Studies; Journal of International Development; New Media and Society; Information Technology for Development; Interacting with Computers; Information Technologies and International Development; Ethics in Information Technology.

Before joining Sheffield in 2016, Dorothea Kleine was Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London where she was Director of the interdisciplinary ICT4D Centre. Prior to this she held posts at the University of Cambridge and Bonn University. 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.


Dorothea Kleine’s key research interests are:

• Sustainable and just development futures in the global South (and North)
• Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D)
• Digital Geographies and digital participatory methods
• Ethics of ICT-related development interventions, inclusive innovation and data ethics
• 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 in the context of 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 scientific advisory roles and speaking at global policy conferences.

Research Projects

Current Research Projects:

Global Challenges Research Fund/ ESRC Strategic Network on Digital Development: Leveraging Data Science and Digital Participatory Practice for Development Impact (2017-2018; overall £150k): Principal Investigator and convenor of a network bringing together 29 participants (academics, NGOs and business partners) from 13 countries to develop joint cutting-edge research agendas. See:

ESRC Large Grant Sustainable Consumption and Agri-food Ethics among Middle Class Consumers in the Global South (South Africa, Brazil, China) (2018-2020, overall £679k). Co-Investigator on a milestone cross-cultural multi-method study, led by Prof Alex Hughes (PI, Newcastle). Prof Dorothea Kleine, together with Prof Roberto Bartholo, Prof Rita Afonso (both Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ) and Dr Stefania Vicari (Sheffield) will be leading on the Brazilian study and on innovative digital methods in studying sustainable consumption.

EU Horizon 2020 AfriCultuRes Project (2017-2023, overall €8m): This large African-European scientific collaboration project aims to design, implement and demonstrate an integrated agricultural monitoring and early warning system that will support decision making in the field of food security. Prof Dan Brockington and Prof Dorothea Kleine are Co-Investigators leading on the co-design strand. See:

#ICTDEthics (2016-2018): Prof Andy Dearden (Sheffield Hallam University) and Prof Dorothea Kleine (TUoS) are co-facilitating a process of co-producing minimum ethical standards across disciplines for research in the field of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D). See:

Selected previous projects:

2015-2016 UNICEF “Cross-cultural toolkit for participatory engagement with children in debates about digital futures”. Lead author, with Dr Sammia Poveda and Gemma Pearson on a UNICEF-commissioned methodological toolkit on participatory methods with children and young people in digital social research. Free to download:

2015-16 ESRC-CONFAP Newton Grant “Food 2.0: Using participatory film to express visions of sustainable food futures – Youth views from Rio and London” (overall £89,546); Joint PI with Prof Bartholo and Prof Afonso (UFRJ, Rio). Participatory digital action research project with community organisations in London (Ovalhouse Theatre) and Rio (Observatório de Favela) to work with disadvantaged young people to develop digital participatory films to express their views on sustainable food consumption and food justice issues. See:

2014-15 TECH4RIED Project “Technology for rural innovation and education”. Collaborated, as Senior Scientific Advisor, with the Council for Scientific and Industrial research (CSIR) in South Africa, in applying the Choice Framework in participatory ways in the design and evaluation or agricultural innovation projects.

2014-15 RHUL Creativity Theme Research Fund: “Green IT in a Digital Generation” Co-hosted the events (film-screening and activist-led co-production workshop) led by early career researchers Dr Yasaman Soltan-Zadeh, Rafael Font and Vera Hoelscher

2012-2013 UNICEF “ICT4D for child-focused development work”; Lead author, with Dr David Hollow and Sammia Poveda; on a report produced in collaboration with UNICEF Office of Research, Florence. The study interviewed 35 experts in youth and child-related ICT4D projects and distilled key lessons learned. Among the issues that emerged a key focus was gender inequality. Free download:

2011-2013 ESRC-DFID Choices Project “Leveraging Buying Power for Development – Ethical consumption and public procurement in Brazil and Chile”; (ES/I033904/1, overall £282,753); Principal Investigator with Dr Tomás Ariztía (Universidad Diego Portales, Chile) and Prof Roberto Bartholo (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Key comparative study using both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore Chilean and Brazilian citizen’s views on their personal shopping decisions and state procurement choices.

2010 DFID, Multi-stakeholder Partnerships in ICT4D, Systematic review report on the lessons learned and good practice in partnerships. Joint PI with Tim Unwin and working with Prof David Grimshaw and Dr Marije Geldof.

2008-2010 EU-Edulink ICT4D Grant (overall €1.1m).The project linked Finnish, UK, Swedish and Danish universities with universities in Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya and Senegal to develop a curriculum for multi-disciplinary teaching in ICT4D. Co-Investigator with Prof Tim Unwin.

2010 EPSRC IMPACT! Exhibition. The Fair Tracing Project was selected with 16 other projects from the entire Engineering and Physical Science Research Council’s project portfolio. An EPSRC-funded designer from the Royal College of Art came to work for three months with the academic research team on an exhibit

2006-2009 EPSRC Research Grant (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, overall grant: £372,762) “Fair Tracing: Enriched information for producers and consumers”; This was a pioneering project with computer scientists, HCI experts and social scientists exploring barcodes, RFID chips, digital traceability, participatory digital video in order to give producers a voice and consumers more transparency in “ethical” trade supply chains.

2003-2007 Dr. Heinz Dürr/Zeiss-Stiftung Research Fellowship funding an ethnographic field study on the Chilean Digital Agenda and its outcomes in rural Chile. This included applying the capability approach and developing a gender-aware critique.

2003-2004 EU-@LIS Programme, Met@LoGo Project (overall €3.6 m), E-government in Latin American local authorities; co-lead on a comparative study on e-governance in four Latin American countries, for Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research, London


I am interested in supervising PhD students on topics in digital geographies, ICT4D, critical development theory, and sustainable 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

PhD students of mine have won Fulbright Field Research scholarships (1) and Royal Geographical Society Prizes (2). After their PhD they have gained posts including at United Nations University, Oxford University, Sheffield University, the Institute of Development Studies (Sussex), or they have gone on to research-related careers in the private sector.


To view Dorothea's list of publications, click here.