PhD Research: Values-First Software Design in rural Bangladesh


Expressions of Interest ( EOI ) are sought for the scholarship (PROTIC 5) as part of the IT for Resilient Communities Flagship of the Centre for Community and Social Informatics ( COSI ) of the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University.

Designing new software technology for communities in rural Bangladesh should be carried out with a thorough understanding and consideration of the values of local end-users and other stakeholders. Human values – such as equality, diversity, respect for tradition, privacy, a sense of belonging, and freedom – are all too often ignored in the design of new software systems. And yet, any new technology impacts human values, either deliberately or unintentionally. Furthermore, values are highly context-dependent and so software design in rural Bangladesh should be inherently different than software design elsewhere. Whilst there are some existing methods for considering values in software design (values-sensitive design, value in design, etc.) there does not yet exist an end-to-end approach for ensuring that values are considered throughout the software lifecycle.

This PhD project will examine the role of values in software design for communities in rural Bangladesh particularly in the context of the PROTIC and REE-CALL projects at Oxfam.  Further information about PROTIC and REE-CALL can be found here.

The PhD student will carry out a review of existing values-based design approaches, evaluate their effectiveness in the Bangladeshi context, and develop new values-first software design approaches as necessary. The student will work closely with other students and project staff who are developing software applications, using these applications as case studies and driving examples.

Candidate Requirements

The ideal candidate will have a strong background both in software development methods and practices as well as knowledge and interest in the socio-technical aspects of new software systems, such as how to design systems that fit into existing practices.

The successful candidate will have knowledge of and/or be able to learn quickly about:

  •         Participatory design methods
  •         Human-computer interaction (from a socio-technical viewpoint)
  •         Software development skills (including requirements engineering, software design methodologies – both agile and plan-driven, programming)
  •         Qualitative research methods, e.g., observational studies, interviewing, ethnography

Advanced communication skills in English are critical to this project, as well as fluency in Bengali. Fieldwork in Bangladesh will be required.

The successful candidate will receive a full tuition scholarship and stipend ($AUD26,682 per annum) for a single person for the period of required research residency in Australia and fieldwork in Bangladesh

For more information and the application procedure, please go here.

  • :
  • : Larry
  • : PROTIC Monash-Oxfam Project for Information Empowerment in Bangladesh Monash University
  • : Fellowship

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