UI2 Symposium 2020


The Utah Informatics Initiative (UI2) hosted a half-day symposium on October 28, 2020 dedicated to the intersection of digital technologies and the public interest. In the past few years, there has been an increased interest in Public Interest Technology (PIT). This new term, coined by the Ford Foundation and New America, refers to the study and application of technology expertise to advance the public interest in a way that generates public benefits and promotes the public good, particularly for those members of our society who have not been well served historically and today by existing systems and policies.

We will continue to celebrate the work already being done on campus around PIT, to stimulate a discussion around what new collaborative possibilities exist.


The term PIT is meant to include both individuals who approach these challenges from a technological background, those with lived experience and expertise, and those coming from other disciplines (including, but not limited to, law and social science and movement-building) who seek to understand, use, and respond to the changes brought by new technologies.


PIT-motivated research broadly defined involves, but is not limited to, those working in the ecosystems of access; open-source and creative commons; digital literacy; inclusive design; movement and activist tech; community tech; and digital privacy and security.  More specifically to Utah, PIT may involve efforts related to the environment, health care access, and technology, and ethics.

What is the Utah Informatics Initiative (UI2)?

Digital technologies (informatics) permeate almost everything we do.

The University of Utah's Informatics Initiative (UI2) empowers students to be digitally aware, digitally literate and digitally enabled. If job preparation and workforce development are your priorities, UI2 is ready to help you navigate the courses, certificates and degrees that explore digital technologies, and then to expanding your knowledge and enhancing your skills in these industry-critical areas. And if you are an educator, we are here to help you design and deploy engaging course material; find fellow researchers and seed funding; and broaden your knowledge and professional network through symposia.  Put into the language of the why, what and how:

Technology doesn’t start transformations. Empowered people working together do.

The goal of UI2 is to stimulate, cultivate and cross-pollinate an ecosystem around (informatics) digital technologies.

We seek to empower people to individually and collectively study, design, develop, implement and apply digital technologies.  We encourage the use of digital technologies not only within the scope of their original/intended purposes, but also beyond that scope to creative (innovative) uses that stretch the boundaries of our current thinking.

For more information about UI2, visit informatics.utah.edu, or contact its Executive Director, Professor Mike Kirby.