For organizations

The need for innovative information tools is a global challenge. The Global Information Engagement Program (GIEP) is a five-year project that started at the University of Michigan School of Information in 2014. As an outcome of this program, students learn first-hand how to become agents of change in the global information economy.

The School of Information is seeking partner organizations in Cape Town, South Afrida for summer 2017 as GIEP enters its fourth year. This program aims to put the skills of professional graduate students at the University of Michigan to work on information, technology, and design problems faced by organizations working on social justice.

The goal of the program is to develop sustainable information tools that have societal impact, through collaboration between engaged organizations and high-caliber student teams.

Over the past three years, organizations from industry, non-profit, government, and academia in India and South Africa have partnered with the University of Michigan on numerous projects including an archive and collaboratory for human rights lawyers, an urban informatics portal, and an online repository of disability-related services and a learning system to train hospital workers.

We seek project proposals from organizations who wish to engage in a collaborative partnership to develop and refine a project for student learning with a societal impact outcome. We seek projects in:

  • development of interactive web-based services
  • creation or organization of information repositories and archives
  • development of internal library systems
  • research and analysis on information policy topics
  • digital design projects
  • data analysis and informatics

Teams of two to four University of Michigan graduate students will be selected through a competitive process and assigned to work on a defined project. Each group will be advised by a faculty mentor at UMSI and guided by a point person in the partner organization in India supervising the progress on the project.

Student teams bring with them highly developed skills in needs assessment, application development, product design and a deep understanding of information management. 

Student engagement timeline:  Students are selected for the program and matched to projects in January.  Student teams and partner organizations will start working together virtually in March.  In May, students will arrive in the host country for nince weeks’ on-site work at the partner organization.

How: Interested partner organizations can indicate interest in hosting students by emailing These projects are technology or information management-related problems that, if solved, contribute to the better functioning of the organization itself and have broader applicability across society. Organizations are matched with a student team that has been selected based on interest, skill, and fit.

Cost:  GIEP is free for participating partners.  All students’ expenses including travel and stay in Cape Town are fully funded through school resources.

Commitment: In order to be matched with a team of students, participating organizations must be able to provide the following:

  • A well-developed project proposal that clearly highlights an information challenge
  • A committed project leader at the organization who will work with students and provide resources and information to ensure project success
  • Remote consultation for initial project research and development from January to May
  • Workspace and project guidance for the students during their time in South Africa

To be submit a proposal for consideration, please contact program administrators by December 1 by emailing

For examples of past projects, we invite you to visit these pages on our website:

Past projects (India)

2016 Projects (South Africa)