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CIM REF2021 Highlights

CIM REF2021 Highlights

CIM is delighted to announce the success of our REF2021 submission in three Units of Assessment (UoAs) across three Faculties. All three UoAs placed our research and impact in the top 12 in the UK according to Times Higher Education: Sociology - 10th, Computer Science - 4th, and Music, Drama, and Film and Television Studies - 12th. Music, Drama, and Film and Television Studies was also ranked 1st in research power in the UK.

CIM’s mission to drive world-class research by pioneering, testing and promoting interdisciplinary methods and approaches put us in an excellent position to contribute to REF 2021, with its foregrounding of interdisciplinarity. In a little over ten years, CIM has created a truly unique and vibrant academic environment in which researchers with backgrounds in fields as diverse as computer science, media studies, sociology, musicology, anthropology, architecture and ecology share ways of working.

Key to CIM's strategy for research and impact during this REF period has been its focus on advancing a distinctive approach to interdisciplinarity which works across disciplines by focusing on methodological innovation. We design, conduct and study experiments in participation in collaboration with academic colleagues across disciplines and beyond academia, implementing participatory methodologies for knowledge creation and societal engagement. We develop critical, rigorous and reflective approaches to data collection and analytics, making use of inventive methods including crowd-sourced data collection, digital mapping, DIY sensors, apps and art installations.

This strategy has enabled CIM to establish research collaborations with scientists and scholars across a wide range of disciplines and a diverse set of partners and networks connecting across academia, public policy, industry, cultural institutions and activism. The success of CIM’s transformative interdisciplinary, inter-faculty, research and impact strategy is manifest in our varied sources of funding including the ESRC, AHRC, the Alan Turing Institute, NERC, EPSRC, ERC, Horizon 2020, the Wellcome Trust, the Newton Fund, and the Leverhulme Trust.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all members of staff in CIM who contributed to or supported our REF2021 submission, and to our colleagues in Computer Science, Sociology and the Arts for working with us over the REF2021 cycle.

Discover our interdisciplinary research: some highlights of our REF2021 submission by UoA below

B11 - Computer Science and Informatics

CIM’s research on data visualisation was included in the submission led by the Department of Computer Science. This submission (B11) was ranked 4th in the UK overall according to Times Higher Education, with 79% of research outputs receiving a 4* rating and 99% receiving either 3* or 4*.

Researchers in CIM contributed specifically to the research theme on Artificial Intelligence and Human-Centred Computing (AIHCC). The theme focused on artificial intelligence in the engineered and social worlds and on using discoveries in multiagent systems, ubiquitous computing, natural language processing and visualisation to solve real-life challenges in areas such as intelligent vehicles, cyber-physical systems, mental health, rumour verification, and geography and ecology. CIM members contributed to this submission with work by Greg McInerny on software research that makes reproducible ecological modelling a realistic prospect with the development of the software ZOON R. Cagatay Turkay’s work was also submitted within this theme, specifically his research resulting from a 2-year study that paved the way for an approach that supports cyber security analysts in making informed decisions on anomalous user behaviours within large software platforms. The work is the basis of a system used by experts at Amadeus IT Group with over 16000 staff and deployed on their live platform. Since the submission, new work in this area in CIM continues leading to projects to develop unique interdisciplinary approaches to data visualisation such as the UKRI funded, Visualising Contact Networks in Response to COVID-19 and WAYS (What Aren’t You Seeing?). Greg and Cagatay’s work has been brought together in a collaborative grant that has received NERC funding to explore adaptive citizen science.

CIM’s interdisciplinary research in the social sciences was key to our contribution to Warwick’s Sociology submission, focused on addressing some of the major challenges – societal inequality, ecological crises, and technological transformations – facing contemporary societies and cultures. Our research contributed to the thematic areas of Inequalities and Social Change – with interdisciplinary methods and feminist approaches to study social change and inequality – as well as the areas of Economy, Technology and Expertise – with research in science and technology studies, economic sociology, environmental and digital sociology. The Sociology submission (C21) was ranked 10th in the UK according to Times Higher Education, with 47.7% of its research outputs rated 4* and 87.2% rated 3* or 4*.

Exemplary of our interdisciplinary research in the social sciences is the wide ranging disciplinary scope of the publications submitted to this Unit of Assessment – including monographs such as Nate Tkacz’s Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness, Maria Puig’s Matters of Care, Noortje Marres’ Digital Sociology and Celia Lury’s Problem Spaces – and the diversity of publications resulting from projects contributed to this submission.

The Wellcome Trust project 'People Like You'. Contemporary Figures of Personalisation, led by Celia Lury in collaboration with partners at Goldsmiths and Imperial, integrates practice-led research to study emerging personalisation processes in data science, health care and digital culture. During this period, Lury also led an ESRC Professorial Fellowship Order and Continuity: Methods for Change in a Topological Society. Emma Uprichard led as Co-I the ESRC/NERC funded Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN), hosted by the University of Surrey, that brings together social scientists and mathematicians working in the area of complexity to transform the practice of policy evaluation. The ERC funded project Diversity and Performance: Networks of Cognition in Markets and Teams led by David Stark, implements an innovative combination of experimental and participant observation methods to develop a comprehensive sociological approach to the social properties of cognition. The project, Scaling Trust: An anthropology of cyber security, led by Matt Spencer, with a Future Leaders UKRI fellowship, examines the nature of assurance in cyber security, its history and the contemporary policy landscape. Nate Tkacz led the ESRC grant, Interrogating the Dashboard: Data, Indicators and Decision-Making which examined the role played by dashboards in allowing individuals and institutions to interact with and act upon Big Data in organisational and everyday settings. Since submission many other exciting projects have started with a strong base in the interdisciplinary social sciences, including the ESRC funded ORA Project Shaping AI led by Michael Castelle and Noortje Marres.

C21 - Sociology

D33 D – Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies

CIM’s contributions to Art and Humanities-led interdisciplinary research is exemplified by work submitted to REF2021 together with the departments grouped under the Faculty of Arts – Theatre and Performance Studies (TPS) and Cultural and Media Policy Studies (CMPS) from the School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures (SCAPVC), and the Department of Film and Television Studies (FTS). CIM contributed research and an Impact Case Study based on our work on methodological innovation and new forms of participation in digital media, performance and music studies. Warwick’s submission to this Unit of Assessment was ranked 12th in the UK according to Times higher Eduction, with 61% of overall submission (across outputs, impact and environment) rated 4* and 92% rated 3* or 4*. Specifically for Impact, 62.5% of Warwick’s submission were rated 4* and 100% were either 3* or 4*.

Our contributions were part of two thematic areas in this submission Theory, Aesthetics and the Popular – centred in meta-critical analysis and diverse constructions of the popular and taking a broad approach to the aesthetic challenges of contemporary culture – and Cities, Places, Environments, dedicated to the analysis of cities and landscapes and their representation in visual and performance cultures.

Our submission in this area included work in digital media cultures by Michael Dieter, founding member of the App Studies Initiative (ASI), an international network of scholars involved in app-related media research from the Universities of Warwick, Siegen, Amsterdam, and Toronto. Michael was also PI of project COVID-19 App Store and Data Flow Ecologies. The reach of our research in the interdisciplinary humanities is exemplified too by work on the relation between music, sound practices and philosophical thought by Naomi Waltham Smith, including her monograph Music and Belonging. Between Revolution and Restoration, as well as her theoretical and in-practice work in projects such as Cart-otographies of Cities: Soundmapping Urban Political Economies funded by an Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship.

Another highlight of CIMs practice based research is Nerea Calvillo’s work and publications that contributed to the theme Cities, Places, Environments as well as the international Impact Case Study Yellow Dust: Engaging Citizens with Environmental Issues/ Making Environmental Issues Visible. Calvillo’s work leading to this Impact Case, involved the creation of installations in urban spaces, making use of performative data visualizations and sensing tools in order to investigate the material, technological, political and social dimensions of environmental pollution and a new understanding of air pollution dynamics. This work is exemplary of CIM’s commitment to socially engaged research and our aim to create connections between our research findings and practice and the people for whom that research can make a difference.