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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

Web Science success

Published: 1 July 2021
Highlights of WebSci21

Delegates from around the globe gathered online to take part in the successful 13th ACM Web Science Conference (#websci21), hosted by our University.

More than 270 people, from as far afield as China and the USA, joined the virtual five-day event to focus on Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID.

Chaired by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute (WSI), the conference brought together world leaders in Web Science research, technology, industry and policy-making. They addressed the challenges and opportunities arising from the effects of the pandemic and other global threats.

ACM President Gabriele Kotsis and President-Elect of the International Communication Association Noshir Contractor opened the conference, sharing their views on the future of the Web.

A highlight of the event was the keynote ‘In Conversation’ between Dame Wendy and entrepreneur and internet activist Baroness Martha Lane Fox. Together they discussed Baroness Lane-Fox’s contributions to public policy and the technological debate, as well as exploring the legislation processes and work going on within select committees and the House of Lords. Dame Wendy said: “Our second virtual ACM Web Science conference at Southampton was a huge success and a truly global, interdisciplinary event. This year we even held one panel - The future of the Web in a post-COVID world - in English and Chinese. It was a good opportunity to reflect on how COVID-19 had changed the world and to discuss its impact on the Web in the future.”

As well as the main conference, the event also showcased the work of Web Science students with a PhD Symposium.

Southampton Web Science PhD student Allison Noble said: “I was fortunate enough to be selected to present my ideas at the Symposium, which brings together a number of experienced academics to provide PhD students (at different stages of their candidature) an opportunity to showcase their research goals and to receive feedback on their ongoing research on an international platform.

“I wanted to receive feedback on a concept I had been working on, in particular the robustness of the idea. The PhD Symposium offered me a platform to present my proposal and I received clear and considerate feedback from the other mentors. I would recommend other PhD students to participate in such events as they help to create a clear sense of direction in work and methods.”

This was the second year that our University has hosted the conference, with organisation by the WSI. Last year, the event had to be transformed rapidly from a physical conference to a virtual one, due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the conference highlights


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