William Dutton, currently Professor at The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California (USC), will be the first Director of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford. He takes up this new role on 1 July this year when he also becomes Oxford’s first Professor of Internet Studies and a Fellow of Balliol College.

The OII is the world’s first truly multidisciplinary Internet Institute based in a major university. With initial funding of £15 million, it will carry out research and make policy recommendations about the effects on society of the Internet with the goal of putting Oxford, the UK and Europe at the centre of debates about how the Internet could and should develop.

Professor Dutton said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead and shape the Oxford Internet Institute, as it launches its ambitious and vitally important programme to increase our understanding of the way that new media influence our lives. The scale of the transformations that digital communications are enabling in every aspect of society is massive – and I believe that the work of the OII will help to ensure that we can all gain the maximum benefits from those changes over the years ahead.”

Professor Dutton joined The Annenberg School in 1980 and also holds a courtesy joint appointment in USC’s School of Policy, Planning and Development. During the last academic year, he presided over USC’s Academic Senate in the elected post of President of Faculty.

Since the mid-1970s, Professor Dutton has focused his teaching and research on the political, social and economic implications of information and communication technologies, such as the Internet, often from a cross-national, comparative perspective. One of his earliest contributions to this area was, from 1974-78, when he was a co-principal investigator on the first major study of the impact of computers in government, supported by the US National Science Foundation.

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Notes for Editors

The Oxford Internet Institute, which was launched in May 2001, was made possible by a major donation from The Shirley Foundation of £10 million (partly to the University, of which the Institute will be a department within the Social Sciences Division, and partly to Balliol College, where it will be located) together with public funding totalling £5 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which is supported by the Department for Education and Employment.

As a Fulbright Scholar, William Dutton studied within the Department of Human Sciences at Brunel University from 1986-87. He returned to Brunel as a Visiting Professor from 1993-96, when he was also National Director of the ESRC Programme on Information and Communication Technologies (PICT). More recently, he was a consultant to the ESRC in the design of its new eSociety Research Programme. Professor Dutton has also taught at the University of South Florida, San Diego State University and the University of California, Irvine.