The London School of Economics is about to appoint its first professor in new media and the internet.
The post will cover research into anything from the social, political and cultural consequences of the internet to regulatory issues in the UK and Europe, ownership and control of intellectual property, and the ethics of cyberspace.
The LSE is planning three programmes inspired by new technology: a two-year MSc in global media and communications, run in collaboration with the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Southern California; an MSc in new media information and society run with the information systems department; and an MSc in media and communications regulation, run with the departments of government and law.
These initiatives will cost about Pounds 5 million per year - more if the school manages to expand in the way it wants. It is already seeking funding for a second chair in global communications.
But Roger Silverstone, director of media at the LSE, says he is confident that the communications industries will provide the necessary backing because they are desperate for information and intellectual guidance about the world of new media.
"No one is quite in control of the information revolution," he says. For him, the LSE's location in London, "the media capital of the world" and home to many new IT companies, makes it the obvious place to undertake this research.
The analytic tools to tackle the topic will develop from frameworks that already exist within the department of media and cultural studies.
"I know enough about the industry to see there is a sea-change going on out there," Silverstone says. "We are at the beginning of a major revolution." HS.