GRAND – Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in Graphic, Animations and New Media
(Organizational and Co-authorship Networks Research Initiatives) – Funded by a $23.2 million grant from the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada – Collaborative Network Investigator, 2010-2015.
The Social Media Lab and Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd are members of the GRAND, a research network and commercialization engine, whose goal is to address complex issues in digital media and transform multidisciplinary research into user-centred solutions. GRAND explores the use and application of digital media in a variety of settings including: entertainment, healthcare, education, environmental sustainability, and public policy. Within GRAND, the Social Media Lab is collaborating with various other research labs across Canada on the following three research projects:
Network Assessment and Validation for Effective Leadership (NAVEL)
The Social Media Lab is collaborating with the NETLAB at the University of Toronto to study and improve GRAND’s network research and management culture. NAVEL, a research project in GRAND, gazes at GRAND to explore three key questions: How does the network work? Is it an effective platform for digital media research? And, how can it be improved? To answer these questions, a database of information is being collected about team collaboration and knowledge exchange, using quantitative and qualitative methods. The role of the Social Media Lab in NAVEL is to evaluate and develop various forms of automated data collection and visualization techniques to study the GRAND network. Findings from NAVEL will be useful not only within the GRAND community, but to others engaged in similar initiatives by providing insights and understanding on how large multifaceted collaborative research can be effectively supported and managed.
Media Enabled Organizational Workflow (MEOW)
In this project the Social Media Lab is collaborating with the Service Systems Research Group at the University of Alberta. MEOW uses digital media technologies such as web-based collaboration, web syndication and social networking to enhance the cohesiveness of the GRAND network. A full suite of integrated communication, reporting and financial tracking functions will be deployed to simplify and improve network management processes, collecting information as a natural by-product of the primary research and collaboration activities of the researchers. Collaboration tools will support ‘best practices’ for knowledge translation across research disciplines, and the dissemination and adoption of results of the research by partners in the receptor community. Particular attention will be paid to developing a novel, peer-review process that allows graduate students in GRAND to support each other in multidisciplinary research. The role of the Social Media Lab in MEOW is to develop and test a set of effective social analytic measures and network visualizations based on principles from social network analysis to provide users of these tools with valuable insights about their level of participation in the GRAND network.
Digital Infrastructures (DINS)
Quality of life can be greatly enhanced when digital media build and sustain a “networked society”. Three challenges exist: Canadians must understand what infrastructure is needed and they must have access to it; they must have capacity for, and interest in, using digital media to engage each other and support economic activities; and they must understand the social implications (positive and negative) of living and working in a networked society. Four distinct studies conducted within this project consider various ways in which digital infrastructures are developed, created and taken up by individuals and within organizations and communities for mobile and fixed access to content and services. DINS will provide a better understanding of the continued evolution of Canada as a networked society and its relationship to the global network.