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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

WSI Academic Advisory Board member awarded prestigious fellowship

Published: 8 October 2019
Dr Matt Ryan
Dr Matt Ryan

Dr Matthew Ryan, who is a Lecturer in Governance and Public Policy, was awarded a UK Research and Innovation Future Leader Fellowship along with fellow University academic, Dr Christina Vanderwel.

The UKRI scheme supports talented researchers who will help ensure that UK research and innovation continues to be world class.

Dr Ryan’s project, Rebooting Democracy, will fuse politics with machine learning to address polarisation and disengagement with politics, while Dr Vanderwel’s research will investigate wind patterns around buildings and how this affects air quality in cities.

The two fellowships are among only 78 to be awarded across the country.

Dr Ryan has been awarded £1.197 million from UKRI for his project. He explained: “Democracy is in trouble. Most people agree that democracy is a good thing, but there are issues with how it works in practice including declining trust in government and political parties, distorted digital communications, and rising polarisation and extremism in politics.

“Brexit is a symptom of this – the discourse it’s created is much more polarised than before. There are many other examples in everyday life – issues such as climate change or intergenerational fairness create polarisation.”


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