A group of leading research universities has introduced Futurity, a Web site providing news about the latest discoveries in science, engineering, the environment, health and more.
The University of Texas at Austin is one of the 35 universities participating in the project.
Futurity offers the public access to information about university research that will have an impact on their lives and help them better understand the world.
"The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to be a part of Futurity," says Don Hale, vice president for public affairs. "The Web site allows people to get a solid understanding of the work universities are doing for the benefit of all of us."
Futurity has featured a number of studies by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, including the decoding of bat love songs, the mating habits of ants, solar cells made from nanotechnology and the brain's processing of three-dimensional images.
Bill Murphy, one of Futurity's cofounders and vice president for communications at the University of Rochester, says universities are affected by the challenges facing newspapers today. News holes are shrinking, he notes, and coverage of research-related stories has been hit particularly hard.
"In light of this shifting news landscape, universities are looking for ways to share important breakthroughs with the public," he says. "Futurity gives our partners an opportunity to communicate in a new and direct way--and to remind the public why research matters."
Futurity cofounder Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke University, says the site serves another vital role. It allows the public to see how federal, state and private funding is being put to use by universities to address critical challenges.
The site is available in a mobile version, and visitors can comment on stories and sign up for a daily e-mail update.
The University of Texas at Austin and the other Futurity.org partner universities are members of the Association of American Universities, a nonprofit organization of leading public and private research universities.