UCL News


Major 'E-Society' projects launched

10 November 2003

Two projects by UCL researchers are part of the new major research programme, 'E-Society', funded by the Economic & Social Research Council.

E-Society logo The £6.5-million programme is investigating how our production, use and consumption of information and communication technology (ICT) is shaping and restructuring our social, cultural, economic and political behaviour.

Dr Ann Blandford, from UCL's Interaction Centre, and Dr Peter Lunt (Psychology) are examining the forces for, barriers against and effects of change as information systems are introduced in clinical settings. She said: "Although new information technologies, such as the National Electronic Library for Health, don't contain any personal information, they can still be perceived as threatening. Doctors and nurses are expected to have information at their fingertips at all times. For example, patients gathering information about their conditions from the world-wide web can challenge the expertise of their GPs, changing the doctor-patient relationship." Such systems are rapidly being introduced in the NHS, forcing working practices to adapt. The project is studying how to make those adaptations smooth and productive.

Professors Paul Longley, Richard Webber and Mike Batty are leading a team based in UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, that is investigating a wide variety of socio-economic 'digital divides' in people's ability and willingness to access ICTs. The team is developing a detailed nationwide classification based on levels of awareness of different ICTs, levels of use of ICTs, and their likely impacts on quality of life.

Professor Longley said: "We know disappointingly little about the diffusion and use of new ICTs. This research will create a nationwide picture, from which we will be able to explore how we might anticipate the pattern of adoption of new and existing ICTs. It will also develop an illustrative application in terms of the impact that these new digital divides might have on voting behaviour."

To find out more about Dr Blandford or Professor Longley use the links below.

Dr Ann Blandford
Professor Paul Longley