Information Sciences and Technology

IST professors receive NSF research grant for work on privacy

University Park, Pa. — Madhu Reddy, associate professor of information sciences and technology, and Heng Xu, assistant professor of information sciences and technology, recently received a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support their future work on collaborative privacy practices (CPP).

Reddy’s research interests include themes within health care on collaborative information behavior, collaboration within patient care teams and inter- and intra- organizational health IT issues. Xu’s research focuses on information privacy and security management across a variety of domains. Their proposal, “Collaborative Privacy Practices: Exploring Privacy in Informational Intensive Environments,” focuses on how privacy and security is managed within teams, in a highly collaborative and information-intensive domain such as healthcare.

Their research agenda includes improving the understanding of CPP through research, developing a conceptual model of CPP using a multi-method approach and examining privacy-enhancing technical features that can support CPP effectively. They will collaborate with the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

“We thought it was timely to look at these kinds of challenges,” said Reddy. “I was interested in it primarily because I’ve seen it happen in my research, where information is left unattended in a health care setting.”

The award, amounting to approximately $500,000, will support their research for the next three years, as well as a postdoctoral research and a graduate student. When Reddy received word that he had won the award he said he was surprised, but happy the foundation is recognizing the importance of health care research.

NSF is an independent federal agency created by congress “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense.” With an annual budget of 6.9 billion, the foundation issues about 10,000 new awards per year, most being on average duration of three years. For more information, visit:

Last Updated January 03, 2011