Center for an Informed Public (CIP)

The rise of the internet and social web has profoundly impacted how individuals, groups and organizations produce and consume information, participate in public discourse, and organize social and political action. This new paradigm for human interaction and information sharing has amplified diverse voices and enhanced collective action in positive ways. At the same time, these information environments have opened the door to misinformation, disinformation, and other forms of networked manipulation, which function not only to mislead and create divisions but also to diminish trust in democratic institutions such as science and journalism. Our mission is to marshal the collective resources of a world-class research university, embedded within local communities, to resist strategic misinformation, promote an informed society, and strengthen democratic discourse. In service of this mission, we collate deep empirical, technical, policy, and information science expertise that—deployed intentionally and collectively—has enormous potential for positive societal impact.We are uniquely positioned at the University of Washington (UW) to take on this mission. The UW is a tri-campus, public university that prioritizes engagement of diverse populations that span socioeconomic, philosophical, and political divides. It houses leading researchers studying the spread of misinformation, nationally recognized educators in digital literacy, disruptive designers, deep-fake engineers, and legal scholars with expertise in the first amendment, rights of bots, and platform liability. The university resides in Seattle — ground zero for many of the corporations driving changes in information technology, a community known for its innovative and collaborative journalism ecosystem, and home to foundations deeply invested in the health of society. Combating the onslaught of strategic misinformation is one of the most pressing problems of our time—but not unique to our time, as it will continue to be a concern for many years to come. We envision a permanent, self-sustaining center on campus. The center will extend current partnerships and catalyze new collaborations between researchers, labs, thought leaders, and practitioners within and outside UW that will translate research into policy, technology design, curriculum development, and public engagement. We will do this through our strong network of urban and rural libraries, national network of educators, and institutional partners.

Grant Info


Jevin West


Ryan Calo


John S. and James L. Knight Foundation



Start Date

Oct 8, 2018