Indiana University will collaborate with Schurz Communications, an Indiana-based multimedia company and parent company of The Herald-Mail, on an innovation challenge beginning this semester.
Hoosier undergraduates, graduate students and faculty will be asked to consider real-world digital solutions and opportunities for 21st-century media companies. A $25,000 gift from Schurz will be apportioned by the IU School of Informatics and Computing to provide sizable cash prizes for winning prototypes that meet agreed guidelines.
“The big motivator is not our money,” said Kerry Oslund, vice president for digital media at Schurz Communications. “It’s our problems. That’s what the universities want. They want real-world problems that can infuse their programs with real-world challenges.”
Schurz Communications operates cable, high-speed data, TV, radio, print and digital (mobile, social and desktop) media businesses in Indiana and across the U.S. Winning innovators will have opportunities to advance their ideas, as Schurz and its investment partners are actively seeking early-stage technologies.
To enliven projects, the IU School of Informatics and Computing will receive custom feeds, application programming interfaces and real-world data sets from Schurz Communications’ wide array of media businesses and vendors.
“We are delighted to partner with Schurz Communications on this exciting collaboration,” Informatics Dean Bobby Schnabel said in a prepared statement. “Partnerships like this energize our students and create even more excitement about the breadth of opportunities available in the school. Together, Schurz and our school can push the envelope of innovation, encourage entrepreneurial activities and have real impact on the world.”
IU’s School of Informatics and Computing is the first interdisciplinary information technology school of its kind, where students and faculty use technology to advance discoveries from music to microbiology to media. More than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled there.
“This partnership provides an amazing opportunity for our students to both learn and innovate around the world of information and media concepts provided by Schurz,” said Dennis Groth, the school’s associate dean for undergraduate studies. “Key to the partnership is the interaction between our students and Schurz professionals, which creates a winning combination of access to information, experience in media and information delivery, and innovative ideas from skilled and energized students.”
“New technologies are providing numerous opportunities for media organizations, citizens, businesses and communities to engage with each other,” Schurz CEO Todd Schurz said in the news release. “Indiana University is at the forefront of understanding the impact of technology and how we can best utilize it to improve all areas of our lives.”
Bloomington is also home of Schurz’s Center for Excellence in Digital Development.