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Bennett Receives Microsoft Digital Inclusion Grant

 

February 2006

Professor John Bennett received a $100,000 grant as part of Microsoft Research's $1.2 million Digital Inclusion Program. The highly competitive program awarded 17 grants to teaching universities from 10 countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Uruguay and the United States. Researchers will be tackling technological challenges to positively impact health, education and socioeconomic conditions in underserved areas.

John Bennett photo

Research that winners of the Digital Inclusion RFP program will delve into includes telemedicine and the use of the cell phone as a platform to provide affordable, accessible and relevant technology services to underserved communities. Other winning proposals will look at delivering an integrated Internet-based healthcare information service targeting HIV/AIDS patients in Botswana; finding out if using Wi-Fi-enabled phones can boost cognitive development in children using Internet chat services in Santiago, Chile; exploring long-distance learning at a village school in Tibet using networking and audiovisual teaching equipment at Tibet University; and building a prototype of an early-warning system for flooding using sensor networks on the Rio Aguán in Honduras.

Bennett's proposal to develop bidirectional community radio -- or AIR (Advancement through Interactive Radio) -- as a means to achieve social and economic advancement was also among the winners. "Microsoft clearly sees funding a project with technology at its core can have sociological ramifications that can assist those in underserved communities. We are exceptionally grateful for their generosity and their foresight," Bennett said.

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. Researchers focus on more than 55 areas of computing and collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to advance the state of the art in such areas as graphics, speech recognition, user-interface research, natural language processing, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, and the mathematical sciences.

 
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