iSchool faculty and doctoral students work internationally on projects that have a direct impact on people’s lives and in many cases result in learning that can be used for new projects with Affiliates. Doctoral students work under the direction of iSchool faculty to take foundational research in new directions. The impact and importance of our research pays off. The University of Washington receives more federal research funding than any other American public university, a ranking held since 1974. The iSchool has received more than $10 million in grants since 2010.
The Affiliates program helps to facilitate discussion between partners and iSchool faculty and students to identify common areas of research interest. iSchool researchers also respond directly to requests for proposals issued by government, non-profits and foundations.
The top iSchool research partnerships include:
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS)
- International Development Research Centre
- John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
- Microsoft Research
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
Examples of recent projects include:
- Digital Archives Documenting History: A grant from NSF funded Batya Friedman and a team of researchers, legal experts and videographers to visit Rwanda and conduct interviews with people who have served on the U.N.-sponsored War Crimes Tribunal. The stories from lawyers, judges, interpreters and other professionals were posted on an interactive website, Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal.
- Improving customer service: Andrew J. Ko created Frictionary, a tool for automatically extracting, aggregating, and organizing problems described in technical support forums, enabling real-time analysis of problem frequency and prevalence metrics. Frictionary was applied to 89,760 Firefox support requests from four sources gathered over 10 months, a tool that could be used by Firefox as a tool for prioritizing engineering efforts.
- Better search results: iSchool Ph.D. graduate Jeff Huang, a 2012-13 Facebook fellow who worked with Andrew Ko, has developed technology that captures page level interaction data – as users move their mouse cursor, scroll around on the page and use browser tabs to view multiple search results. The resulting data provides richer implicit feedback to search engines, improving search results for everyone.
- Better health care for patients: Research in the iMed group is motivated by the problems patients face in finding, using, and managing information. Research includes studying patients’ work to understand their problems, developing new types of technology to address those problems, and evaluating the technology with patients.
- Using technology to improve wellness: Wanda Pratt and Sunny Consalvo turn emerging technology into applications that help track the development of children through social media, manage our health information, and encourage physical activity using mobile phones.
- Understanding social media: Bob Mason and Jeff Hemsley have been investigating how social media such as Twitter and Facebook change communication patterns and impact public perceptions.
- Preservation of information: Joe Janes looks at the challenges of preserving information in the modern world, where we are creating more than we can keep. How do we decide what is important to preserve, and how do we create conditions that make that possible?
- Access to information: Not everyone has equal access to our increasingly digital world. What methods work best for ensuring that we don’t exclude large segments of the human race from the increasingly important portion of our knowledge accessible only online? The TASCHA research group looks at multiple aspects of this problem.
Read more about research projects at the iSchool.