A note from the
Director of
Research

 

Professor Paul Clough

This website provides an opportunity to showcase some of the research contributions of staff and postgraduate students in the Information School.

This website provides an opportunity to showcase some of the research contributions of staff and postgraduate students in the Information School. Our research engages with a broad range of topics at various stages of the information lifecycle as information (in its broadest form) is created, collected, enriched, analysed, accessed, used and reused by individuals, organisations and society, in domains such as healthcare, media, cultural heritage, pharmaceutics and government. This forms a value chain from production to consumption; from data to knowledge and insight, involving various stakeholders and emerging technologies interacting with data and information in context. The strapline of the Information School is ‘the power of information’ which recognises information has the ability to inform decisions, change views and ultimately transform lives. But this is only possible if information is properly managed, critically assessed and effectively and responsibly used by individuals, organisations and society. It is within this environment that the Information School operates and strives to provide world-class education and research.

Since taking over as Director of Research during the last year one of my goals has been to summarise the research capability of the School.

Through discussions with staff and students I have come to better understand the breadth and diversity of research undertaken around areas such as social media, the digital divide, organisational learning and innovation, information behaviour, socio-political practices, crisis management, data modelling and analytics, and algorithmic trust and accountability.  Our research profile includes people with backgrounds in library and information science, communications and media, business and computer science, which enables a broad perspective on data and information, and means we are able to view problems from multiple perspectives. We also have in-depth expertise within the School in qualitative and quantitative approaches to conducting research that equips us to tackle various research problems and educate the next generation of researchers. We will continue with developing our research capability through the provision of a stimulating and supportive environment where new ideas and people can thrive. I hope you will get a sense of the variety of high-quality research being undertaken in the School as you view this website.

However, there will be challenges to address as we move forward; economic and political issues putting pressure on Higher Education. For example, whatever form Brexit takes it is likely that funding from the European Union will be reduced which will have a great impact on the School and the UK more widely.

Within the UK the funding landscape is about to change with the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in April 2018 that will incorporate the seven UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and the research funding and knowledge exchange parts of HEFCE. Already we have seen funding being targeted to specific initiatives, such as the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Industrial Strategy Research Fund, and specific priority areas, such as health and well-being and justice. In 2021, the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) will take place to assess the quality of research undertaken in UK Higher Education Institutions, the results of which can affect the reputation and standing of departments. Of course, all of these also bring opportunities: the REF helps us to focus on producing high-quality research outputs and ensuring what we do has impact beyond academia; the amalgamation of the UK funding bodies and Brexit could release more budget. Despite these changes the School is well-placed to continue conducting world-class research; however, we must be ready and able to adapt to upcoming changes in the environment.

Professor Paul Clough
Professor in Information Retrieval & Director of Research