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Boundary-spanning research centre launches six new projects

From improving mapping of species at risk to analysing the uptake of COVID-19 test and tracing apps by the public, researchers at the University of Warwick's Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies are launching six new projects investigating how new technologies are shaping society, and demonstrating how data science can tackle current social, political and ecological challenges.

CIM Director Professor Noortje Marres commented: “We are delighted to have been successful in so many exciting project applications. As well as the diversity of topics and methodological approaches, the wide range of funders supporting the projects -- UKRI, AHRC, ESRC, NERC, and the Alan Turing Institute -- is another strong indicator of the interdisciplinarity of CIM’s research.”

  • COVID-19 app store and data flow ecologies: Funded by UKRI, Dr Michael Dieter and Dr Nate Tkacz are working with colleagues at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Siegen to investigate the emergence of apps as a key response to COVID-19. Using a range of digital research methods, they aim to provide an analysis of the governance and ethical challenges posed to the public by these new apps.
  • Visual Analytics Systems for Explaining and Analysing Contact: Funded by UKRI, Dr Cagatay Turkay, working with colleagues at Swansea University and Warwick’s Zeeman Institute, will use visual analytics methods to investigate the temporal, spatial and social aspects of people’s contact networks. They hope this will be useful to policymakers during this, and any future, pandemic, and that the project will reveal more effective means of communicating policy decisions in informative and transparent ways.
  • DECIDE: Delivering Enhanced Biodiversity Information with Adaptive Citizen Science and Intelligent Digital Engagements Dr Greg McInerny & Dr Cagatay Turkay are taking part in a NERC-funded project which is looking at how AI and other digital technology can help citizen-scientists map and record insect species. The project will produce fine-resolution distribution models for about 1000 insect species of moths, butterflies and grasshoppers across the UK using earth observation sensor data.
  • Pause for Thought: Media Literacy in an Age of Incessant Change Dr Scott Wark and Tom Sutherland at the University of Lincoln have obtained AHRC funding for a project which will reconceive media literacy. Recognising that platforms, devices, apps and other media forms are changing at dizzying speed, they will ask how individuals are affected by this “hyper-mediated world,” and how academics and educators should respond.
  • Ecological Belongings. Transforming soil cultures through science, activism and art This project looks at how new ecological cultures are taking shape in the UK in response to a crisis of relations with non-human nature. With the support of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship, Dr Maria Puig de la Bellacasa will be exploring more than human re-inventions of ecological belonging across scientific, artistic and eco-activist practices.
  • Shaping 21st Century AI - Controversies and closure: Professor Noortje Marres, Dr Michael Castelle and Dr James Tripp will be mapping controversies about 21st Century AI as part of a 3-year ESRC-funded project working with colleagues in the Internet and Society Institute in Berlin and Sciences Po in Paris. The project will analyse AI as a social and technical phenomenon, which is underpinned by fundamental beliefs in the capacity of technology to solve social problems, and conduct experiments in participation in AI with design researchers, to envision different possible ways of integrating AI into social life

CIM was established in 2012 as an interdisciplinary space for research across the humanities, sciences and social sciences, which is exploratory and experimental.

CIM’s Research Director, Dr Maria Puig de la Bellacasa added: “The variety of intersecting disciplines, approaches reflected in these and between these projects shows how CIM acts as an incubator for atypical combinations — including environmental, computer social and data science, media studies, philosophy, architecture, design, sound studies, sociology, anthropology, data visualisation, history of science and cultural theory.”

ENDS

About CIM: The Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (CIM) was established at Warwick in 2012 to foster innovative and experimental forms of knowledge production through a sustained focus on methodology. CIM is dedicated to expanding the role of interdisciplinary methods through new lines of inquiry that cut across disciplinary boundaries, both intellectually and institutionally. Within Warwick, CIM is an advocate of interdisciplinary research and study. Beyond Warwick and beyond the academy, CIM explores new forms of public engagement, both with potential research users and with the experts, experimenters and institutions in business, civil society and government that are at the forefront of applied methodological innovation.

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