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The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Malaysia

Web Science Institute to explore the ‘web we want’

Published: 20 August 2014

The University of Southampton’s new Web Science Institute (WSI) has been heralded as a model of interdisciplinary collaboration which has the power to make a positive impact on society.

The Institute, recently launched at The Royal Society in London, brings together world-leading multidisciplinary expertise from across the University to tackle the most pressing global challenges facing the World Wide Web and wider society today. The Institute also continues the University’s significant role in the development of the Web over the last 25 years, including the foundation of the innovative discipline of Web Science 10 years ago.

Supported by 65 industry collaborators, supporters and partners, the WSI draws upon web science-related research from across the University to focus the analytical power of researchers from disciplines as diverse as sociology and computer science, economics and psychology, law and humanities to understand and explain the Web while developing the Web we want and need for the future.

“The launch of the Web Science Institute reflects extraordinary collaboration across the University and exemplifies so much of what we’re good at in Southampton – high quality research underpinned by a highly-respectful and mutually-beneficial collaboration between existing discipline strengths which also offers us a unique research-led education programme,” said Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam.

“It’s very clear from the way in which the WSI has been established with the partners we have that web science research is already having an impact on society and the new knowledge gained form our research is already being transferred into the economy in ways that are quite literally changing the world,” Professor Nutbeam continued.

WSI Director, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, added “As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Web and think about the role Web Science can play in helping to shape the future Web we want, it is a perfect time to be launching the Web Science Institute. Web science is not just about technology; it’s about what people do with the web and how we as a society shape the web as much as it shapes us. Through the WSI, we look forward to showcasing current Web Science work and discussing what it means to look at the world through a Web Science lens.”

During the launch, Professor Hall took part in a panel discussion on how we might achieve the ‘web we want’. She was joined by fellow Institute Directors Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Susan Halford together with Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and holder of a Chair in Computer Science at Southampton, and Liam Maxwell, UK Government Chief Technology Officer and a newly appointed Visiting Professor at Southampton.

Keynote presentations were also delivered by JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist at and Richard Susskind OBE, author, speaker and IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Click here to watch the full Opening Session speeches via our YouTube channel.


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