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4TU.
Resilience Engineering

Harith Alani

I am Professor of Web Science and leader of the Social Data Science group at the Knowledge Media institute, The Open University. I have been researching social media and networks for nearly two decades. My work is mainly focused on applying computational social science methods and social media analytics to better model, understand and track various social phenomena on the web. I have published around 160 scientific papers in various leading journals and conferences, and have taken various roles in the organisation of top tier scientific conferences, such as The Web Conference, ACM Web Science Conference, and the International Semantic Web Conference. Previously to joining KMi, I was a senior research fellow at the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton.

My interest that relates to the Resilience Fellowship lies in studying the role of social media in disaster situations, and the impact (positive or negative) of such media on citizen’s and society’s resilience. Resilience is heavily influenced by information, and social media is a ripe environment for exchanging information during the various phases of disasters. However, how social media is used and misused during disasters remains heavily under researched.

During my co-ordination of the H2020 COMRADES project (comrades-project.eu), it became increasingly clear that technology alone is insufficient for leveraging the value of social media to enhance resilience. Numerous socio-technical factors that can influence this value and potential will need to be thoroughly researched, such as information access and inclusiveness, evolution of information needs, prior knowledge and expertise, analysis explainability, and trust. The 4TU Resilience Fellowship program is an ideal setup to connect the necessary disciplines to study these socio-technical challenges more extensively.