Tag Archives: uio

Participating in the opening of The Guild

I participated in the opening of the Guild of Research Universities in Brussels yesterday. The Guild is

a transformative network of research-led universities from across the European continent, formed to strengthen the voice of universities in Europe, and to lead the way through new forms of collaboration in research, innovation and education.

The topic of the opening symposium is that of Open Innovation, a hot topic these days, and something that the European Commission is putting a lot of pressure on. I was invited to present an example of how open research can lead to innovation and to participate in a panel discussion. Below is an image of the setting, in the lovely Solvay Library in the heart of Brussels (and great to see that the 360-degree plugin works in WordPress!):


Ole Petter Ottersen, Chair of The Guild and Rector of the University of Oslo opened the symposium (click and drag to rotate image).

From basic music research to hospital application

In the symposium I showed a shortened version of the TV documentary that tells the unlikely story of how my basic music research has led to medical innovation. In 2005 I developed a method for visualizing the movements of dancers – motiongrams – with a set of accompanying software tools. As an open source advocate, I made these software tools freely available online, and witnessed how my code was picked up by artists, designers, hackers and researchers. Now my method is at the core of the system Computer-based Infant Movement Assessment (CIMA). This is a clinical system currently being tested in hospitals around the world, with the aim of detecting early-born infants’ risk of developing cerebral palsy.

Panel discussion

The panel discussion centered mainly on policy, and it was great to see that both European university leaders and the Commission embrace openness in all its entirety. Head of Cabinet Antonio Vicente effectively argued that Europe started late, but is quickly catching up in pushing for openness (access, data, research, innovation). The question is now how we get to do this.

I think that the EU should get a lot of credit for their brave move within open research, but individual universities need to push for the same type of openness throughout their institutions. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to change the mentality of peers, who ultimately are the key persons in making decisions as to who should get project funding, appointments and promotions. I see that we often fail in recruiting young researchers with an inclination towards open research. Such applicants consistently get evaluated as “weaker” in comparison with researchers that are following more traditional academic pathways.

Moving forwards, we need to continue with an (inter)national push, but we should not forget about the need for a culture change among individuals. This is something we need to work on at an institutional level.


A view from my panel position during the symposium (click and drag to rotate image).

Norwegian Championship in standstill

NM logo

On Thursday we are organising the first Norwegian Championship of standstill at University of Oslo. This is part of the University’s Open Day, a day when potential new students can come and see what happens on campus.

Besides the competitive part, the championship is (of course) a great way to gather more data about how people stand still. The art of standing still is something that has been a great interest of mine for the last year or so, and I have been carrying out different types of smaller experiments to understand more about the micromovements observed when standing still.

For the championship we are not going down the route of asking people to stand still for as long as possible, as they do in the world record for motionlessness (the record is a little more than 30 hours). Rather, we will look at how still people can stand for 6 minutes, measured in the average speed of a motion capture marker placed on the head. The unofficial Norwegian record is 3.8 mm/s, and on Thursday we will see if anyone beats that.

The championship is open for everyone, so do come by if you are in Oslo on Thursday. The poster for the event can be seen below:

Nm Plakat 640

UiO goes social 2

A few weeks ago I mentioned that University of Oslo now openly supports RSS- and Twitter-feeds from the official employee web sites. Now I see that social linking has also been embedded in the new profile, as can be seen for example here.

These types of links have been around for some years, but many academic institutions seem to have been very reluctant when it comes to jump on the web 2.0 bandwagon. I don’t think adding a facebook/twitter button will change the world, but I highly support all initiatives that make universities more open.

uio-social2-480.jpg

IT standards in Norway

Today the Norwegian government decided on the following standards to be used in all public communication:

  • Video: Theora/Vorbis/Ogg or H.264/AAC/MP4
  • Sound: Vorbis/Ogg, MP3 or FLAC/Ogg
  • Image: JPEG or PNG
  • Documents: PDF or ODF
  • Character encoding: ISO10646 – UTF8

It is great to see that they encourage to use (mainly) open formats and standards. Now it will be interesting to see how long it takes before these standards are actually widely used. Asking Google for help, I see that it will probably take some time before the University of Oslo is following the new guidelines:

  • 26,400 from uio.no for filetype:doc
  • 9,640 from uio.no for filetype:ppt
  • 1,620 from uio.no for filetype:xls

And the government seems to have a few files to convert themselves:

  • 1,560 from regjeringen.no for filetype:doc
  • 1,090 from regjeringen.no for filetype:xls
  • 346 from regjeringen.no for filetype:ppt