8th July 2009

QUT is hosting a meeting of great minds this week with Oxford University's internet summer school for PhD students researching the interaction between people online, and associated implications for business, policy and society, being held at the Kelvin Grove campus.

Twenty eight PhD internet researchers from all over the world have converged on Brisbane for the two-week Oxford Internet Institute (OII) summer doctoral programme where they will be taught by leading international tutors.

Senior research fellow at QUT's Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation Dr Marcus Foth, convenor of this year's program with QUT's Dr Jean Burgess, said the students represented the cream of the research crop for future innovation in using and understanding the internet and other technology such as mobile phones to enhance social interaction and enrich society.

"The students, from the US, Europe, Asia and Australia are all delving into bringing people together to form strong, functioning communities by harnessing the creativity and innovation made possible by the communication capabilities of the internet and other information technologies," Dr Foth said.

"By sharing their work and learning from leading academics in the field, students can enhance the quality and significance of their thesis research and create a peer network of excellent early-stage researchers."

Dr Foth, who was a visiting fellow to Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute in 2007, said the annual summer doctoral programme had been running since 2003, and was held outside Oxford every other year.

"It was held in Beijing, China, in 2005, at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Boston, USA, in 2007, and this year, at QUT, supported by the Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation (iCi)," Dr Foth said.

Dr Burgess said many senior academics from overseas were holding seminars and responding to student presentations with feedback and advice, including Professor Nancy Baym, University of Kansas; Professor Jack Linchuan Qiu, School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Dr Wendy Seltzer, Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University.

"Senior QUT researchers are also contributing to the programme including Professor Stuart Cunningham and Professor John Hartley from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi); and Professor Brian Fitzgerald on internet copyright from the QUT Faculty of Law," she said.

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1841 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au.

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