It is a great pleasure to announce that the 2016 MSc Thesis Prize has been awarded to Carl Öhman, for his thesis titled “The Political Economy of Death in the Age of Information: A Critical Approach to the Digital Afterlife Industry”.

carlCarl said: “I am deeply honoured, baffled and grateful to receive this prize. It really proves that the OII values research from all disciplines, and encourages students to go beyond traditional research traditions. Apart from a lot of hard work, this thesis is in part a product of the countless conversations, debates and intellectual wrestles I have had with my classmates over the past year. I am grateful for sharing a department with such extraordinary minds. I must also say a special thank you to my supervisor Luciano Floridi for supporting my idea from the very start and for urging me to pursue this rather unusual thesis project.”

In congratulating him, his supervisor, Luciano Floridi said “I’m utterly delighted that Carl was awarded this year’s Prize Thesis for his outstanding dissertation. This is so well deserved. Carl’s research on the Digital Afterlife Industry (his neologism) is ground breaking. It combines new and deep insights into a most significant and yet unexplored area of social interactions online: how we deal with the already vast and fast increasing amounts of social data that outlive their producers on the Web, basically our posthumous online presence. Carl’s analysis enriches our understanding and opens new horizons of research. It is going to be seminal.”

dada_judithAlso specially commended was Judith Dada, for her thesis titled “Engaging to explore? An online experiment to investigate the impact of interactivity in data visualisations”. She said: “I am very honoured and equally surprised about this award, considering the brilliant research that fellow students have conducted. Thanks to its diverse curriculum, the OII was a place that allowed me to dive deeper into a range of different methods, such as data visualization and experiments, helping me to apply these to current social science questions of both theoretical and practical relevance. I am extremely grateful for the excellent support of OII faculty, particularly my supervisor, Dr Taha Yasseri, who always took time to discuss my questions and continually expressed confidence in my research project. Most of all, I would like to thank my fellow female students, whose intellectual and emotional encouragement throughout the year resulted in friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.”

Her thesis supervisor, Taha Yasseri, said: “It was a great pleasure to work with Judith and I am extremely thrilled that all her hard work has paid off and led to an outstanding piece of work. Judith examined a very important aspect of data visualization with great application in online journalism in particular, and providing great insights into users’ behaviour in the more general context of human-computer interaction. Judith has been very consistent in conducting her research and even though her selected method of online experimentation was very challenging, she delivered one of those “must-read” theses.”

The OII accepts up to 30 students a year for its MSc programme in Social Science of the Internet. The programme is designed to provide students with the in-depth understanding of the social science concepts, theories and methods required to undertake and assess rigorous empirical research or policy analysis of Internet-related issues.