Current research initiatives at UMSI

Doug Van Houweling

Doug Van Houweling, associate dean for research

The University of Michigan School of Information enters the 2012-13 academic year building upon a strong research tradition that continues to explore frontiers in the way people create, use, and preserve information.

Here are a few examples that demonstrate the diversity of the School’s research:

  • Exploring the effect of diversity on technology-mediated collaboration
  • Developing context-aware software for mobile devices
  • Assisting disabled individuals in developing countries to use information technology
  • Investigating the quality of our rapidly expanding archives of digitized publications
  • Understanding how people allocate their attention to the vast flow of available information
  • Exploring the role of information in micro-finance in challenged Detroit neighborhoods.

All of these activities provide opportunities for UMSI students to work at the leading edge.

Perhaps most notable is Professor Margaret Hedstrom’s $8 million DataNet grant from the National Science Foundation entitled Sustainable Environment Actionable Data (SEAD). Margaret and her team of colleagues at three other universities are building a prototype system to provide sustainability science with an environment that not only enables data and results sharing, but actually motivates that sharing across very diverse types of data. This grant propels UMSI into the “Big Data” effort in a fashion that draws on the special multi-disciplinary perspective on which the school is built.

As we look to the coming year we are excited about UMSI’s participation in M-Cubed, a new program which enables faculty across the University to quickly partner with and support graduate students in pursuit of high risk, innovative research.

Chuck Friedman, who heads our new master’s degree program in health informatics, is exploring the development of a Learning Health Network to harness information more effectively to improve human health. He will be working with colleagues in the school, across the university, and around the nation.

In summary, the School’s research underscores our commitment to preserve and manage information for the good of all.

Doug Van Houweling
Associate Dean for Research and Innovation

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