Expanding research infrastructure to study Internet and social media use among middle-age and older adults

This project will build on initial collaborations formed at the "Informed Brain" Keck Futures Conference to define and expand opportunities for future research on how middle-age and older adults are using the Internet and social media, as well as the positive and negative health outcomes of that use.

Start date: 5/1/2013
End date: 5/1/2014

Read More

Led by Principal Investigator Kenneth Langa from U-M’s School of Public Health, this project will seek to identify and grow future opportunities for research on the health impact and usage habits of social media among middle-age and older adults.

This project is funded by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), a program of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) with support from the W.M. Keck Foundation. The organization’s competitive seed grants aim to fill a critical gap in funding for research on new ideas.  Major federal funding programs do not typically provide support in areas that are considered risky or unusual.  The Futures grants allow researchers to start recruiting students and postdoctoral fellows, purchasing equipment, and acquiring preliminary data—all of which can position the researchers to compete for larger awards from other public and private sources.

Grants were awarded based on their interdisciplinarity, relevance to the informed brain in a digital world, riskiness/boldness, and the importance and potential impact if the grant is funded.


The Informed Brain in a Digital World: Expanding the Research Infrastructure to Study the Use and Outcomes of the Internet and Social Media in Middle-age and Older Adult, National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI): $75,000


Launched in 2003, the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) has been catalyzing interdisciplinary research at the intersection of science, engineering and medicine, and enhancing education among researchers, funding organizations, and universities. NAKFI’s objectives include enhancing the climate for conducting interdisciplinary research, and breaking down related institutional and systemic barriers.