Ithaka Harbors Inc

To support explorations by scholarly societies of new approaches to academic gatherings

  • Amount $149,934
  • City New York, NY
  • Investigator Roger Schonfeld
  • Initiative Trust in AI
  • Year 2021
  • Program Technology
  • Sub-program Exploratory Grantmaking in Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many technological shifts that have already been taking place, including the shift from in-person to online and hybrid (in-person and online) academic gatherings. Eliminating the need for travel reduces environmental impacts and the burden imposed on delegates, and videotelephony services have demonstrated that they can meet the basic needs required to bring a gathering online. But while videotelephony can handle presentations and Q&A sessions, it cannot recreate the serendipitous hallway conversations that can lead to new scientific collaborations, ideas, and discoveries.   This grant supports an investigation by Roger Schonfeld at Ithaka Harbors, doing business as Ithaka S+R, into the opportunities and drawbacks of online and hybrid academic gatherings. Schonfeld and his team will use a combination of research, interviews, and design thinking—a human-centered approach to innovation—to help approximately 15 academic societies plan better academic gatherings that are informed by what works well in online and hybrid gatherings. The team’s project will elucidate the new skills and technologies needed to foster the interactions that were easy to create with in-person gatherings, which they will then share with decision-makers to enable more sustainable, inclusive, and engaging options for scholarly communication.

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