Oxford University sets up Internet Institute

Internet research team will research the effects of the Internet on society

Internet research team will research the effects of the Internet on society

Oxford University is to create an Internet Institute aimed at researching the effects of the Internet on society which it hopes will put the UK at the centre of the debate about how the Net should develop.

The Institute will be funded by a £10m donation from the Shirley Foundation, set up by philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley. A farther £5m will come from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The project has got the thumbs-up from a selection of high profile Net figures including European Commissioner for the Information Society Erkki Likkanen and the Cabinet Office e-envoy Andrew Pinder. Secretary of State for Education David Blunkett also backs the scheme.

The Institute will open later this year and will be based at Balliol college. Master-Elect of Balliol Andrew Graham has been heading the group working on the initiative. "You can already shop, bank, vote debate, argue, consult a doctor and get your degree over the Net -- and do so all around the globe. However there is also an enormous amount of rubbish out there and some material that is harmful. To understand what is happening and to formulate helpful policies you need people such as political scientists, lawyers, medics, economists and computer scientists working together," he said in a statement

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