New Internet research centre seeks pioneering role

October 9, 2002

Brussels, 08 Oct 2002

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII), launched on September, will be one of the world's first research centres to study the social impact of the web, and attempt to integrate its findings into European Internet policy.

The OII aims to take a leadership role on Internet research in Europe, collaborating not only with other academic and research centres, but with industry and governments as well.

Professor Bill Dutton, first Director of the OII, told CORDIS News that 'It is something of a paradox, given the availability of the Internet and the wealth of information contained and exchanged on it, that social research into the effects of the net on society is still very limited.'

The centre's research will focus on several key themes, including governance (e-democracy), online learning and education, science, and the Internet and the household, which will use annual surveys of web use in 2,000 UK homes in comparative projects alongside European and global research. Studies will also be carried out into areas such as standards, security and content across these core thematic groups.

When it comes to influencing European Internet policy, Professor Dutton explained, the Institute takes a long-term view. 'We will seek an input into current legislative processes in Europe, but I envisage that the OII will be most effective when it comes to setting the agenda for policies two or three years in the future.'

The OII is already working towards its goal of pioneering Internet research in Europe. It is hosting a forum for researchers, industry and government in March 2003 entitled 'broadband divides' and has submitted proposals as part of two expressions of interest under the Sixth Framework Programme.

For further information, please consult the following web address:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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