SOAS University of London

£90,000 Awarded to the Bloomsbury Colleges to Share International Development Digital Resources Online

22 March 2010

The latest thinking on international development from leading academics will be shared online via podcasts and videos as part of a new initiative. The 15-month project, called the Bloomsbury Media Cloud, is led by The Bloomsbury Colleges - a consortium of six internationally-renowned institutions within the University of London.

Interviews and lectures will be produced and made publicly available online to raise awareness of major challenges in developing countries, including animal health, climate change and education. The resources will be of particular interest to international development researchers and students worldwide. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the London International Development Centre (LIDC), and is funded by £90,000 from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). This work builds on the Bloomsbury Learning Environment collaboration - a shared e-learning service comprising the Blackboard Academic Suite and a range of innovative technologies.

New approaches

Professor Quintin McKellar is the Principal of the Royal Veterinary College, one of the participating Colleges. He said: "International development issues increasingly impact on all of our lives, from climate change to the threat of diseases like swine flu. Online resources are an effective and appealing way of engaging new audiences and informing them about these matters in a clear and concise way. We are delighted to have secured funding for this project from JISC."

Innovative internet-based approaches are central to the Bloomsbury Media Cloud project, including the storage of digital resources in 'the cloud' (a virtual space online). The initiative is funded by JISC's new Flexible Service Delivery programme, which supports colleges and universities to make efficiency savings, and integrate and share their information systems effectively. Alex Hawker, programme manager at JISC, said: "I am especially enthusiastic about this project and the opportunities it will bring for universities to learn from each other, particularly in the areas of negotiating licences for shared resources, and joint leadership. By making this important work openly accessible online, JISC is allowing researchers to benefit from academic thought outside the walls of their own universities and subject areas."

Online resources

Material generated by the project will include:

  • Programmes on key international development topics, including:
    • Access to medicines
    • Animal and human health
    • Climate change
  • Short presentations profiling the international development expertise and training offered by the Bloomsbury Colleges within various categories, including:
    • Education
    • Food production and security
    • Health and health promotion
    • Sustainable development
    • Water and sanitation
  • Interviews with each of the six heads of the Colleges about their experiences in international development

For further information, contact:

Notes to editors

  • The Bloomsbury Colleges comprises the following institutions: Birkbeck, Institute of Education, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Royal Veterinary College, School of Oriental and African Studies, and the School of Pharmacy. For further information, visit
  • The London International Development Centre facilitates interdisciplinary research and training to tackle complex problems in international development by bringing together social and natural scientists from across The Bloomsbury Colleges. For further information, visit
  • JISC inspires UK colleges and universities in the innovative use of digital technologies, helping to maintain the UK's position as a global leader in education. For further information, visit
  • For more information about the Bloomsbury Media Cloud project please visit or contact Sarah Sherman, Project Manager,; 07515 580 385.