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Örebro University School of Business, 2015

Postal address: Handelshögskolan vid Örebro Universitet, SE-701 82, Örebro, Sweden
Visiting address: Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro
Web page: http://www.oru.se/English/Schools/Swedish-Business-School-at-Orebro-University/

Contact person: Åke Grönlund, Professor of Informatics (also affiliated to Dept of Informatics, Umeå University), phone: +46 (0)70 585 17 90

The department runs a 120 ECTS credits Masters Programme in Electronic Government, focusing on eGovernment and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in public administrations combined with organisational change and new skills in order to improve public services and democratic processes. More information.

Research connected to South Asia:

Prof. Åke Grönlund has been involved in research on Electronic Government and E-democracy. He is founding faculty and member of the Steering Committee of the multidisciplinary DemocrIT research programme on ICT in democratic processes. This is a multidisciplinary research programme carried out in cooperation between the Media and Communications Studies (MKV) at Örebro University and a number of other subjects, also involving several PhD students.

SPIDER, the Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Developing Regions, has provided funding for two Bangladesh related projects led by Prof. Grönlund:

• ”Bangladesh Virtual Classroom”, conducted from October 2005 to May 2007, as a collaboration project between the Universities of Örebro, Umeå, and BRAC in Dhaka, Bangladesh. During the course of the project also Bangladesh Open University (BOU) joined by means of a Memorandum of Understanding setting the framework for cooperation in pursuing field trials. The project was funded with SEK 900 000 from the Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Developing Regions – SPIDER.
The project had two parts:
1: Using Mobile Technology to Create a Virtual Interactive Participatory Classroom using sms technology.
2: Conducting an Educate the Educator Program to introduce interactive teaching methods.
More information about the Bangladesh Virtual Classroom Project.

• A continuation of this project, titled ”Bangladesh Virtual Classroom sustained” was given SEK 1 million for the period 2007–2009. It now targeted a large-scale implementation of an interactive TV and SMS “classroom” setting for ICT-enabled distance tuition at Bangladesh Open University. The project deliverables also includes development of pedagogical methods, methods for economic production of interactive courses and methods for technically and economically feasible delivery of such courses throughout Bangladesh. The collaborating partner on the Bangladeshi side has been Dr. Yousuf M Islam, Director for Research and Advisory Services at BRAC University in Dhaka. More information.

For the same period, 2007–2009, SPIDER gave funding also to another project led by Prof. Åke Grönlund: ”Agricultural market information for farmers (AMIS)”. It also focused on Bangladesh, and was given SEK 1 million as a grant from SPIDER. More information about the project.
Abstract: The project will develop an agricultural market information system to improve local agricultural markets and empower small farmers in rural Bangladesh using low-cost existing SMS infrastructure to create a viable local organization for information collection and dissemination. Focus is on the collection and distribution of market information to beneficiaries rather than on the in-formation system as such, using appropriate technology given the local context.

Dr. M. Sirajul Islam is an Assistant professor in Information Systems in the Informatics Department at the Örebro University School of Business. Siraj is specialized in teaching and research in the areas of eGovernment, Management Information Systems, ICT for Development (ICT4D) with special interests in farmers in developing countries, agricultural market information systems and mobile phones. He is now in charge of coordinating the International master program in Information Systems in partnerships of University of Rwanda funded by SIDA.

After completing a Bachelor in Business Administration from North South University, Bangladesh, and an MSc in Informatics with a specialization in eGovernment from Örebro University, he defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Creating opportunity by connecting the unconnected : mobile phone based agriculture market information service for farmers in Bangladesh” at Örebro University on Thursday 10 November 2011. The faculty opponent was Professor Rahul De from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore, India. More information, incl. link to full-text thesis.

In 2012, Siraj received a prestigious ‘Börje Langefors best doctoral dissertation award’ from the Swedish Academy of Information Systems (Svenska informationssystemakademin) in recognition of quality of advance research in informatics in Sweden. The award was conferred on May 9, 2012 in a befitting manner during the annual conference of the Academy hosted by Linköping University. Börje Langefors Award is a prestigious academic honor awarded each year by SISA for the best doctoral dissertation in Sweden in the study areas -informatics, information systems, Data and Information Science or equivalent. The prize aims to reward as well as encourage development of high standard research in Sweden, and to demonstrate exemplary research in informatics. This award has been named after Swedish Professor Börje Langefors (1915-2009), one of those who made systems development a science. More information.

Siraj is also one of the recipients of the ‘Strengthening ICTD Research Capacity in Asia (SIRCA)’ fellowship from Nanyang Technology University, Singapore. This award programme seeks to identify future research leaders and to facilitate their development through the support of research. The award is intended to ensure capacities to conduct research in the area of Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D or ICTD) which is built in Asia.
He has more than a decade of experience as a faculty member, researcher as well as academic administrator in Bangladesh, Sweden, France and Rwanda. Being a member of ICT4D research group at the Örebro University, he had served as the Coordinator of the ‘International Network for Postgraduate Students in the area of ICT4D (IPID)’.
As part of community services, Siraj has been involved in some journal review committees and international conferences relevant to ICT4D and eGovernment researches, such as IJESMA, JGITM, ITD, IFIPeGOV, ICTD2015 and ICTD2013.
Go for a list of research publications authored by M Sirajul Islam.

Met with SASNET

On 15th May 2014, Dr. Islam met SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund while attending a seminar on Social Business in Lund (see photo). Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus participated in the first Social Business Week Sweden, held in Lund and Malmö 12–16 May 2014. The event was organised by Lund University along with regional partners. During five days the concepts of social business, social entrepreneurship, and social innovation were explored by and with academics, entrepreneurs, students, NGO’s and public officials. More information.