College launches Pacific Information and Communication Technology for Development Consortium

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Lisa Shirota, (808) 956-7352
Communications Director, Social Sciences, Dean's Office
Posted: Sep 26, 2016

Jenifer Winter
Jenifer Winter
Christina Higa
Christina Higa

The College of Social Sciences (CSS) at UH Mānoa has established the Pacific Information and Communication Technology for Development Collaborative (PICTDC). PICTDC is an innovative interdisciplinary initiative focusing on the social and economic implications of information and communications technology in the Pacific region. It emphasizes the potential uses of technology for social good, promotion of digital inclusiveness, sustainable improvement in quality of life, and empowerment of public discourse on good governance.

Said CSS Dean Denise Eby Konan, “The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is known for its pioneering research and expertise in Asia-Pacific studies. A member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), the leading consortium of research universities for the region, UH Mānoa serves as a window linking East and West. An extension of the rich heritage of decades of research by great scholars at the university and the East-West Center (EWC), PICTDC leverages these resources and opportunities to drive development in the Pacific region through research and programs on communication, information and economic development. PICTDC will serve as a core node in a network of regional ICTD scholars, facilitating information exchange, organizing events, and fostering collaboration among cooperating researchers."

PICTDC is advised by an experienced international advisory board, whose members include internationally renowned telecommunications and information policy expert Richard Taylor, a Distinguished Professor in Residence in the School of Communications.

PICTDC is guided by two faculty from CSS: Jenifer Sunrise Winter and Christina Higa. They are joined by an interdisciplinary group of UH Mānoa faculty affiliates and invited non-resident expert research associates.

Winter is an associate professor and graduate chair in the School of Communications.  Her research addresses digital inequalities, algorithmic discrimination, and privacy in the context of big data and the Internet of Things. She is currently investigating data governance related to big data marketplaces as public commons. Related research addresses broadband access rights, community informatics, broadband development’s role in improving the quality of life and enabling self-determination in indigenous communities, and the Internet as a support for good governance. She has recently co-edited The Future Internet: Alternative Visions and has authored dozens of journal articles, book chapters and conference papers addressing emerging policy issues related to the Internet.

Higa is the associate director of the Telecommunications and Social Informatics Research Program (UH TASI) and co-director of the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC) of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). She was formerly the director of the PEACESAT Program that provided satellite communications for distance learning, telehealth and emergency management services in the Pacific Islands region. Her interests include information communication technology for development and specifically the application of health information technologies to assist in the reduction of health disparities in remote and rural areas in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

More information about PICTDC may be found at

The School of Communications (COM/JOUR) in the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences improves the ways in which people talk to each other – in Hawai‘i and beyond – through all mediated channels, from voice-to-voice conversations to dynamic interactions via emerging technologies. The school strives for excellence in all areas of teaching, research and practice while embracing the contemporary challenges of complex and multicultural contexts involving communication and journalism.

The College of Social Sciences is committed to innovative research initiatives that build upon the college’s strengths and provide unique social science perspectives in areas that play essential roles in the university’s research efforts. Historically, the college and its Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) have been leaders in the areas of environmental change, health informatics, behavioral health, economics, and social innovation.

Marked by leadership, excellence and innovation, the College of Social Sciences (CSS) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa provides students with a culturally diverse experience that transforms them into bold, engaged global citizens who affect change, break down barriers, touch lives and succeed in a multi-cultural context. Its student-centered environment is dedicated to providing students with a vibrant academic climate that affords exciting, intense interaction among students and faculty as they address fundamental questions about human behavior. Featuring outstanding scholarship through internships, active and service learning approaches to teaching, and an international focus particularly in the Asia Pacific region, it prepares students to become leaders in public and private enterprises throughout Hawai‘i and Asia.

The University of Hawai‘i (UH) was established in 1907 and its campuses are all fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The UH System now comprises all public higher education in the State and provides a rich array of associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and professional degrees and certificates to about 60,000 students through seven community colleges, two baccalaureate campuses and a major research university that holds land-, space- and sea-grant designations. For more information, visit