Torvik named 2016-2017 Centennial Scholar

Vetle Torvik
Vetle Torvik, Associate Professor

Assistant Professor Vetle Torvik has been named the iSchool's Centennial Scholar for 2016-2017. The Centennial Scholar award is endowed by alumni and friends of the School and given in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and/or professional promise in the field of library and information science.

Torvik expressed surprise and gratitude at receiving this honor. "I am in awe of colleagues who received it before me; their caliber is off the charts," he said. "I hope to use the award to open new doors—a stamp of approval from colleagues who know you well goes a long way to establish new collaborations necessary to solve the increasingly complex problems facing science and society today.”

Torvik joined the faculty in 2011. His current research addresses problems related to scientific discovery and collaboration using complex models and large-scale bibliographic databases. He is the author of articles in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology; ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data; Trends in Genetics; and Research Policy. He teaches courses on text and data mining, statistical modeling, informetrics, and information processing.

Torvik's current projects include:

  • Innovation in an Aging Society, a multipartner project funded by the National Institutes of Health, for which he has built a suite of bibliographic data mining tools and datasets for studying the relationship between aging and innovation.
  • STEM Workforce Training: A Quasi-Experimental Approach Using the Effects of Research Funding, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and examines the impact of different research funding structures on the training of future scientists and their subsequent outcomes.
  • Computer-assisted text-mining across biomedical papers and patents for competitive intelligence, which is funded by Abbott Nutrition.

Torvik also has received NSF funding for Collaborative Research: DAT: From grant to commercialization. For this project, he developed a freely available database to trace, assess, and measure the impact of scientific funding—linking Medline papers and US patents to investigate how grants enable papers, papers influence patents, and scientific knowledge ultimately diffuses and influences the entire patent record.

"Vetle's brilliant work is a decisive demonstration of how information science can generate new insights from scientific and medical literature. We are very proud to have him here with us and are eagerly looking forward to equally exciting results from his future research," said Dean Allen Renear.

Prior to joining the iSchool, Torvik worked as a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds a PhD in engineering science from Louisiana State University and a master's degree in operations research from Oregon State University, as well as a bachelor's degree in mathematics from St. Olaf College.

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