BT Joins Berners-Lee to Promote Study of ‘Web Science’

BT has become a founding sponsor of the Web Science Research Initiative, an international body established to promote the science and development of the World Wide Web. Established by British Web pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, with co-directors Nigel Shadbolt, Wendy Hall and Danny Weitzner, the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) exists to promote the study of ‘Web Science’, a new academic discipline focusing on the analysis, engineering and social impact of the World Wide Web.

By attracting talented young people worldwide to study the economics, psychology, technology and sociology of the Web, WSRI aims to bring the study of ‘Web Science’ into mainstream education. The initiative, which is jointly hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Southampton University, will bring together leading experts in the world of computer science and communications to create the curriculum for a new generation of Web scientists.

Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT, said: “In the economy of the future, a nation’s skills will form its critical competitive edge. By moving beyond the traditional fields of Computer Science and IT, the Web Science Research Initiative will equip young people with the skills to thrive in a world in which everyone is connected.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, and Professor at both MIT and Southampton said: “I’m very happy that BT is imagining with us the incredible possibilities which exist in the future for humanity interconnected through the Web. An important role for our founding sponsors will be to help us develop new Web Science curricula to ensure that we are training future generations of web scientists to meet the needs of industry.”

WSRI will examine all areas of human interaction with the Web, from the social impact that has resulted from the growth of Web access to the potential of new technologies to expand the World Wide Web’s boundaries and drive the social interactions of an increasingly interconnected world.