Ten frontier technologies for international development

This report include a foreword by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web


The UK Department for International Development (DFID) commissioned the Digital and Technology Research Group at the Institute of Development Studies to undertake a review of frontier technologies, focusing on their potential to positively contribute to development and humanitarian efforts.

This report is based on an extensive review of literature, as well as consultations with expert informants, on 10 frontier technologies in the following 5 areas:

  1. Manufacturing and consumption (3D printing for development, Collaborative economy tools)

  2. Connectivity (Alternative internet delivery, Internet of things)

  3. Transportation and logistics (Unmanned aerial vehicles/drones, Airships)

  4. Fresh water (Solar desalination, Atmospheric water condensers)

  5. Clean air and energy (Household-scale batteries, Smog-reducing technologies)


Ramalingam, B.; Hernandez, K.; Prieto Martin, P.; Faith, B. Ten frontier technologies for international development. Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK (2016) 119p

Ten frontier technologies for international development

Published 1 November 2016