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ITaaU Network+: April 2014: Issue 8
Collaborating with research teams, businesses, entrepreneurs and policy makers to understand the information technology behind the Digital Economy

ITaaU Network+: Community Conference

Steve Brewer


This two day event will be an opportunity to bring together all those who have been involved in the ITaaU Network+ to date. All of the funded pilot projects and secondees will be represented.

We will also report back on all of our workshops. In addition, a series of keynote talks from experts in related fields will inspire and inform delegates and help set the agenda for future work in the area of IT utilities in the Digital Economy.

Keynote speakers:

- Joe McLeod, Global Design Director at ustwo
- Shenja Van Der Graaf, iMinds, Belgium
- Elizabeth Churchill, Director of Human Computer Interaction, eBay Research Labs at eBay Inc
- David De Roure, Professor of e-Research at University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre
- Lizbeth Goodman, Professor of Inclusive Design & Chair of Creative Technology Innovation at University College Dublin
- Food Standards Agency, UK (TBC)

Further details about all of the speakers can be found on the right hand column of this edition of the newsletter.

Registration and further details: ITaaU Network meeting


Creative, Digital and IT industries: digital platforms for media production


Following on from the successful Brighton Fuse project, a scoping study was funded by the ESRC to investigate the viability of a similar study in the Bournemouth area. The two Universities in Bournemouth have fostered a cluster of graduates, research groups and studios that are making significant inroads into the creative digital sector. A fact that has been recognised by the Prime Minister in Prime Minster's Questions in a question about the recent British successes in the Oscars.

The key point about the Bournemouth Digital Pier scoping study is the idea that localised networking between regional clusters offers significant economic and cultural benefits for emergent creative and technical hubs in all parts of the country. A point that was acknowledged by Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood who joined part of the workshop.

Dick Penny, Chief Executive of Bristol Watershed media centre, launched the day by explaining how Bristol has achieved great success through the role of Watershed as a connecting hub for the University, the City Council and the diverse and vibrant creative community across the City. As Dick explained, Watershed is an uncomplicated organisation in a complex world.

The plan now is to host a larger event in the autumn on Platforms for Media Production. Further information will follow soon.

Report on Creative, Digital and IT (CDIT) activity in the Bournemouth region: Bournemouth Digital Pier


International Workshop on Weightless Machine Communications, QMUL, London


This one-day workshop was organised by Yue (Frank) Gao as part of an ITaaU secondment from QMUL to the Weightless SIG group. The event provided an opportunity to learn first-hand about the development of the Weightless standard for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. The event featured a number of keynote speakers from both industry and academia to address application layer, physical layer, security and regulations.

Internet-of-Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications have attracted significant interests in both academia and industry. Billions of M2M devices are expected to be connected, and a major portion of them are through wireless connections. Research activities are ongoing in academia, and industry. M2M communication standards have been actively developed in standard bodies, particular the Weightless SIG.

The event took place at the Skeel Lecture Theatre, People's Palace, Queen Mary University of London. In addition to the talks a packed exhibition space featured many examples of star-of-the-art technology. A full report will appear on the ITaaU website in due course and a follow up event is planned for later on in the year.


Apps for Healthcare - workshop


This workshop is a joint venture between the RCUK-funded Digital Economy Hub on Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy which is led by Professor Paul Watson at the University of Newcastle. The agenda will draw together elements of healthcare from a social inclusion angle and link these to technological opportunities that IT utilities offer and also explore what new IT utilities are needed in this area.

The event will be held at the Chilworth Hilton, Southampton on the 7th May.

Registration and further details: Apps for Healthcare


Delivering food security from the cloud to the app - workshop


This event builds upon the successful two-day workshop that was held in Northern Ireland last year. Professor Guy Poppy from the University of Southampton will deliver a keynote that will focus on the key challenges facing food safety and standards. This question includes wider food security concerns but will also focus on the safety/standards issue.
Guy Poppy is Director of Multidisciplinary Research and Professor of Ecology at the University of Southampton and also incoming Chief Scientific Adviser for the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

This event will revist the various complex and inter-related elements involved in achieving security in the food chain and will examine the roles needed by the stakeholders to take things forwards. We aim to end the day by identifying some practical follow actions that could deliver short term gains for the wider community.

The event should appeal to researchers from academia, commercial organisations and policy making bodies, representatives from the farming community, supermarkets, food agencies and others comited to improving the security of the food chain.


Joe McLeod, Global Design Director at ustwo

Joe McLeod is Global Design Director at ustwo™ and a member of the ITaaU Advisory Group. ustwo is a global digital design studio with a 150-strong family of designers, developers and strategists based in New York / London / Malmö, Sweden.

ustwo create meaningful digital products and services that drive innovation for the world's leading brands, the next big things as well as their own product initiatives. Founded in 2004 by two friends, Mills and Sinx, as a 'studio of dreams' – a place where people come to do the best work of their lives.

Shenja Van Der Graaf, iMinds, Belgium

Ms van der Graaf heads the 'Code, Commodification & the City' cluster at iMinds-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). She is a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), honorary fellow at MIT Media Lab ID³ Hub (USA), and a Futures of Entertainment fellow (USA).

Shenja's current work is concerned with social, economic, and policy issues arising from innovations associated with the ICTs. Specific lines of inquiry include the integration of new technologies into society; management of technological innovation in firms, cities and communities; (new) media users and ‘cultures of expertise’; mediation of social and economic life, theoretical perspectives; cyber security, software/code market, legitimate vulnerability, institutional corruption.

Elizabeth Churchill, Director of Human Computer Interaction, eBay Research Labs at eBay Inc

Elizabeth is currently Director of Human Computer Interaction at eBay Research Labs in San Jose, California and also the Vice President of the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Human Computer Interaction (ACM SigCHI). Elizabeth is an ACM Distinguished Scientist, and writes a column for ACM interactions magazine. Elizabeth is also Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Media X, the industry affiliate program to Stanford’s H-STAR Institute.

In terms of her research, Elizabeth is an applied social scientist, interactive technology designer and social communications researcher with a background in psychology (neuro, experimental, cognitive and social), Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. This work has drawn on social, computer, engineering and data sciences to create innovative end-user applications and services and for the past few years the focus has been most active in the areas of ubiquitous and mobile computing, social media, computer mediated communication, locative media and Internet/Web sciences.

David De Roure, Professor of e-Research at University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre

David De Roure is Professor of e-Research at University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre, Co-Director of the Institute for the Future of Computing in the Oxford Martin School and has a coordinating role in Digital Humanities at Oxford.

Focused on advancing digital scholarship, he works closely with multiple disciplines including social sciences (concentrating on social machines and web observatories), digital humanities (computational musicology) and previously bioinformatics, chemistry, environmental science and social statistics. David is an expert in big data analytics and has an extensive background in distributed computing, Web, Linked Data and social computing, runs the social website for sharing scientific workflows and promotes innovation in scholarly communication.

Lizbeth Goodman, Professor of Inclusive Design & Chair of Creative Technology Innovation at University College Dublin

Lizbeth is Professor of Inclusive Design for Education and Chair of Creative Technology Innovation at University College Dublin, where she is an Executive Board member of the Innovation Academy, and has recently been put forward to the EC as the Digital Champion for Research and Digital Inclusion for Ireland. Lizbeth founded the SMARTlab in its first iteration in 1993, and has developed the award winning practice-based PhD Programme through the institute, along with the associated MAGIC Multimedia and Games Innovation Centre and Gamelab, which Lizbeth designed with industry collaborators as a prime knowledge transfer space in the London docklands.

Lizbeth and her teams specialise in developing ground-up technology solutions for people of all levels of cognitive and physical ability, from mainstream learners of all ages to 'special' and 'gifted' learners and lifelong learners in the developed and developing worlds. In all her work, she applies a universal design method to practice-based innovation to transform lives through providing unlimited access to education and tools for creative expression.

Prior to joining UCD, Lizbeth was Director of Research for Futurelab Education, working with David Puttnam's team to establish innovative platforms for the future of education in a context of global change. She is known as an expert in Digital Inclusion, including learning models for communities at risk. She is an award-winning advocate of community-based ethical learning and teaching models using interactive tools and games to inspire and engage learners of all ages.

Lizbeth specialises in working with people who do not have physical voices (whether due to disability, injury, illiteracy, or other social/political factors), enabling the use of new creative technologies for expression vocally, in writing, and with movement and music.

ITaaU Network+ Pilot Projects: call for proposals - deadline: 9 May, 2014

Applicants are invited to apply for short‐term pilot research study funding from the “IT as a Utility Network+”, set up as a priority challenge area by the RCUK Digital Economy Theme (DE). These pilot studies will be no longer than 6 months in duration and are intended to test new ideas or create novel linkages between research areas. Follow link below for further details:

Call for proposals

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IT as a Utility Network+ One of four challenge areas under the Research Councils UK Digital Economy theme

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