2012-11-28 17:03

Technology and Information Policy Institute

  • 2504 Whitis Ave., CMA 5.102, Austin, TX 78712
  • 512-471-5826

Welcome to TIPI

TIPI has been a center at UT for a variety of communications-related research since the 1990s.

What is TIPI?

The Technology and Information Policy Institute was established in May 1996 and has the current mission of advancing communications technology by providing world-class expertise in researching policy options and conducting investigations regarding social and institutional interactions with new technologies. This University Research Unit, which is associated with leading national and international telecommunications organizations, represents a unique collaboration among scholars across diverse sectors of the campus.  TIPI works with both the public and private sectors to benefit individuals, public institutions and the firms who contribute to improving technology and information infrastructures and use throughout the world.

TIPI organizes local, states- and national-level and international workshops, symposia and other programs that address critical technology issues.  Our scholars undertake research projects in order to provide data and insights relevant to the policy process.  We currently have a special focus on digital inclusion and health and library-related information issues. Future research will focus on remote and digital health services for rural areas.

One of the major efforts we’ve promoted since 2007 is the UT | Austin Portugal Program, a major research and educational collaboration between UT Austin and principal universities in Portugal, with funding by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Its mission is to build capacity in Portugal for emerging digital media industries by supporting doctoral programs, cultivating research projects, and catalyzing demonstration and community-building media activities including media festivals. Faculty members and students associated with TIPI have also been involved in numerous annual events and educational programs in Portugal. Our annual reports for this project are available on the website.

Associated institutions include:

New University of Lisbon

Faculty of science and technology (FCTUNL)

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FCSHUNL)

University of Porto

Faculties of Engineering, Fine Arts, Humanities and Economics


University of Texas at Austin schools and colleges:

         Radio-TV-Film dept.

         School of Journalism

         College of Fine Arts

         School of Information

         LBJ School of Public Affairs

New Conferences/Calls

Coming Spring 2016, new FCT call in Digital Media!


Featured Faculty





Building Bridges into the Future


UT Austin | Portugal New Brochure

With our new brochure, we are pleased to highlight our permanent educational programs as well as some of our capacity building annual events! Download the brochure here and here.



Here's your chance to voice your opinion and give comments on the National Broadband Research Agenda.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are requesting public comments. See call document here

This Agenda will reflect the most significant opportunities for data collection, analysis, and research to keep pace with, and take advantage of, the massive digital changes that permeate our economy and society.

DATE to submit comments: On or before 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on October 11, 2016.

ADDRESSE: Written comments may be submitted by email to: NBRArfc2016@ntia.doc.gov. 

Dr. Carleen Maitland joined us as a guest speaker at the TIPI speaker series, an RTF Colloquium, September 1, 2016

Dr. Maitland presented a very interesting and informative refugee camp case study about the use of mobile services in a refugee camp. The title of her presentation was: Community-level access divides: A refugee camp case study. 

Despite the appearance of uniform availability of mobile services, in many locales granular network analyses reveal the persistence of physical access divides. It stands to reason these divides, similar to those at larger scales, are also reflections of community-level social and economic divides. In this research, we conduct a socio-technical analysis of community-level physical access divides in the context of a Syrian refugee camp. The investigation combines detailed network and organizational analyses to characterize the divides and identify factors influencing their creation and potential solutions. Our fin dings show that even in the limited confines of a refugee camp, coverage patterns and bandwidth availability differ significantly both within and between the networks of three mobile cellular carriers. These patterns, together with the overall configuration of network infrastructure, demonstrate three community level divides: an inter-carrier congestion divide, a spatial distribution divide, and an inter-network divide. We identify a number of linkages between these divides and the social, organizational and humanitarian context of the camp. Building on these analyses, we provide recommendations for socio-technical analyses as well as to ameliorate these divides for both residents and camp management. 

Dr. Maitland is an associate professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University. Her expertise includes both critical and practical analyses of international, sectoral and organizational contexts where information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used to foster economic and social development.

See her presentation here and the associated publication here

Beyond Rural Walls: Conversation about Rural and Urban Spaces 

In November 2015, the Rural Broadband Association hosted a meeting in which a white paper was established and recently edited exploring the impacts and interdependencies among rural and urban spaces.

Sharon Strover was part of the panel that explored the following questions:

(1) Does broadband enable economic
and other benefits? (2) As rural and urban relationships are explored, how is “rural” defined? (3) What are the interdependencies between rural and urban spaces? (4) What challenges do rural areas face? (5) How does rural broadband deployment enable benefits that accrue to both rural and urban areas?

For panel responses to these important questions and to read further, click here

The Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) has launched  the 2016 T-AP Digging into Data Challenge to support research projects that use “big data” to address questions in the social sciences and humanities. Although this is the fourth Digging into Data challenge, it is the first time it has been sponsored by T-AP.

This funding opportunity is open to international projects that consist of teams from at least three member countries, and must include partners from both sides of the Atlantic. Projects must address any research question in humanities and/or social sciences disciplines by using large-scale, digital data analysis techniques, and show how these techniques can lead to new insights. Successful applicants will receive funding from their own national funding agencies for projects that can last for up to 36 months.

Please visit the Digging into Data website for the Request for Proposals, funding agency addenda, step-by-step instructions, and other information.



Arlington, VA: George Mason University School of Law, September 30 – October 1, 2016

The 44th Research Conference on Communications, Information, and Internet Policy
Call for Papers and Additional Submissions

Proud Sponsors of the TPRC 44

TIPI is one of the Academic Sponsors for TPRC44! TPRC is an annual Research Conference on Communications, Information, and Internet Policy  that convenes researchers and policymakers from academia, industry, government and nonprofit organizations. TPRC strives to inspire top quality information, communications, and technology policy research, and to connect researchers, policymakers, lawyers, and practitioners. Among some of the benefits this year, one is particularily interesting for students as we have 2 paid registrations available for the next conference.

Students interested in attending this conference, please contact Cecilia Garrec (cecila.garrec@austin.utexas.edu) for more information.

Overview: TPRC is an annual conference on information policy that convenes researchers and policymakers from academia, industry, government and nonprofit organizations. TPRC strives to inspire top quality information, communications, and technology policy research, and to connect researchers, policymakers, lawyers, and practitioners. TPRC is the longest-running conference of its kind, and has a legacy of showcasing cutting-edge research across multiple disciplines and international perspectives.
Participate!  TPRC has many ways to be involved.  The main way is to submit an abstract of new research you’re working on or have recently completed.  The scope is broad: a topic can be empirical, analytical, legal, historical, institutional, or theoretical.  We use a double-blind review process, and if your paper is accepted you will be asked to submit your completed paper just prior to the conference, and to present your work at the conference.  You can do this as part of a typical paper session, or in the poster session.
In addition to the paper sessions, TPRC has a vibrant and engaging poster session.  At TPRC44, every abstract that is not accepted for a paper session will be considered for presentation as a poster 
There are a variety of other participation options. TPRC44 is interested in your expertise as a moderator for a session, as a participant in our Birds of a Feather tables, as a mentor for our graduate student consortium, and as a discussion panel member.  If you are a student, we have a special student call for papers and a Graduate Student Consortium to which you can apply.  You will find specific details of each of these options in the full Call for Papers (see applicable links). Our goal is to provide multiple opportunities for active and engaging conference participants to interact, take part, and share their knowledge.  We welcome academics, policy-makers, lawyers, students, and industry experts alike.
Quick Facts: The submission period opens on March 1, 2016 at http://www.tprc.org .  Deadlines for completed submissions are as follows:

  • Abstracts for paper sessions and posters, and proposals for panels: March 31, 2016
  • Applications to the Graduate Student Consortium: March 31, 2016
  • Student paper submissions: April 30, 2016

TPRC is a great place to meet new people, and to reconnect with experts in the field of Internet policy, communications, and information. 

For the full CFP, visit their web site, www.tprc.org, or download here.

William Dutton and the Future of Internet Policy and Governance

Dr. William H.Dutton, The Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, visited Austin and throught he TIPI speaker series, presented "Putting Policy in its Place: The Rise of Internet Policy and Governance"  February 11, 2016. More...

UT Austin Portugal Holds Open Institute in August

The UT Austin-Portugal Digital Media Open Institute is taking place in Austin from August 2-7. The program explores the range and meaning of “open” in contemporary culture, examining some of the dynamics of a variety of projects developing open hardware, open software, open data usable for governmental purposes, and open access. More...

TIPI Goes to ICA

Professors Sharon Strover, Wenhong Chen, Joe Straubhaar, and doctoral student Alexis Schrubbe participated in several workshops and paper panels at the International Communication Association's annual conference, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on May 21-25. More...

Winners of Student Paper Competition Announced

Three graduate students were recognized for their submissions to the Communication, Technology, and Society paper competition, sponsored by TIPI. First prizewinner Seungae Lee authored "Online Persuasion - Influence of User-Generated Comments," Madeleine Redlick, in second place, wrote "To Walk on Snow and Leave No Footprints: An Investigation of Social Identity and Pro-Anorexia Online Communities," and Shuning Lu, in third place, submitted a paper titled "Hailing Lucky Money on WeChat." More...

New Rural Broadband Policies Recommended

Broadband policy researchers Sharon Strover, Brian Whitacre, and Roberto Gallardo published recommendations for improving digital inclusion strategies in rural areas. Their study observed that infrastructure subsidies, while important, must be supplemented by more efforts to get people to use existing connections. More...