Fran Berman

A photo of Fran Berman smiling at the camera. She's wearing a black top and standing in front of a blurred natural background.
College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst
Director of Public Interest Technology and Stuart Rice Research Professor

Dr. Berman joined the College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst as Director of Public Interest Technology and Stuart Rice Research Professor in 2021.

Previously, she was the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She is a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and was selected as the 2019-2020 Katherine Hampson Bessell Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Berman was the inaugural recipient of the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award for “influential leadership in the design, development, and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure.” In 2015, Berman was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become a member of the National Council on the Humanities. In 2019, she was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 2020, Berman was elected to be a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.  She also received the Paul Evan Peters Award which recognizes “notable, lasting achievements in the creation and innovative use of network-based information resources and services that advance scholarship and intellectual productivity”.  The award is jointly given by the Coalition of Networked Information, the Association of Research Libraries, and Educause. 

RESEARCH

Berman is a data scientist whose work focuses on the social and environmental impacts of information technology, and in particular of the Internet of Things (IoT) — a deeply interconnected ecosystem of billions of devices and systems that are transforming commerce, science and society. Berman’s research focuses on the overarching ecosystem needed to guide the development of information technologies that maximize benefits, minimize risks, and promote individual protections, the public interest, and planetary responsibility.

ACTIVITIES & AWARDS

Berman is a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Council on the Humanities. Berman previously served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, as co-Chair of the National Academies Board on Research Data and Information, as co-Chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access, as co-Chair of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, and as Chair of the Information, Computing and Communication Section (Section T) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among other positions. For her accomplishments, leadership, and vision, Berman has been recognized by the Library of Congress as a “Digital Preservation Pioneer”, as one of the top women in technology by BusinessWeek and Newsweek, and as one of the top technologists by IEEE Spectrum.



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