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Professor Noshir Contractor, the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, USA, and one of the world’s leading network scientists, is to become a Director of the Web Science Trust.
Now rapidly emerging as an important and vibrant area of research and academic endeavour, critical for our understanding of the Web and society, Web Science was launched as a new academic discipline in 2006 under the aegis of the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI). The progress made by WSRI in advancing Web Science will now be taken forward by the new Web Science Trust, and Professor Contractor joins WSRI Founding Directors, Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Professor James Hendler, and Professor Nigel Shadbolt as Directors of the Web Science Trust.
‘I’m delighted to welcome Noshir Contractor to the Web Science Trust,’ said Dame Wendy Hall. ‘One of the great successes of the Web has been the ability to create and sustain increasingly complex online networks, and Network Science provides powerful insights into how this is happening and what will be its implications for the future. We have ambitious plans for the development of our Web Science activities and look forward to Noshir’s contribution, which I am confident will provide new perspectives on the development of the Web Science research agenda.’
Professor Contractor is Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University. He is investigating factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in a wide variety of contexts, including communities of practice in business, science, and engineering, public health networks, and virtual worlds.
He commented: ‘Network Science, like Web Science, is directly addressing the grand societal challenges that we face in the 21st century. Whether these are challenges of the Environment, Energy, Public Health, or Security, the potential of the Web, especially in the formation of networks, plays an increasingly important part in determining how we can understand the challenges and begin to create solutions. I look forward to being part of the Web Science Trust and to working with its Directors and research teams to advance both our disciplines.’
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