Humphrey School News—April 10, 2017

Humphrey School Launches New Online Collection, CIVIOS, Sharing Research through Video, Podcasts

When academic research meets cutting-edge technology and social networking, the result is Civios: a new online collection of videos, podcasts, and other multimedia tools that translate public affairs research into easy-to-understand presentations. Hosted by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, this newly launched collection features research on a wide array of public affairs issues—from urban planning and immigration to predatory policing and human services—conducted by faculty members from across the University of Minnesota.

Civios is intended to be a ‘go-to’ resource for public affairs research, shared mostly through online social networking among audiences who play key roles in shaping public policy.  

“So many people rely on research to guide their work—from advocacy and nonprofit organizations to local and state agencies and lawmakers—and until now most research has been published only in academic journals,” says Laura Bloomberg, Humphrey School associate dean. “Civios not only makes this important research accessible, but it does so in an interesting and engaging way.”

The key to Civios is pushing out research outcomes through social media, among audiences who work on specific issues. The developers of Civios call them ‘hubs of influence’: for example, efforts to promote the newest video about developing ‘happy cities’ tap into an active network of urban planners, state and local organizations such as Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin County Public Health, and advocacy groups like Transit for Livable Communities and Bicycle Alliance.   

“This is a really exciting way to feature my research and the research of my colleagues,” says Yingling Fan, associate professor of urban and regional planning at the Humphrey School. “Like many Americans, people who are doing the real work on these issues are often getting their information from blogs and social media, and this puts high quality, evidence-based information into those arenas in ways people can easily access and quickly digest.”

Designed to be short and engaging, Civios uses plain language to break down complicated research and to appeal to the general public but the platform also offers links to full research outcomes and additional resources. Most podcasts and videos include links to materials stored in the University’s Digital Conservancy, which is hosted by University of Minnesota Libraries and includes more than 55,000 other open-access articles, documents, and data sets.   

“We consider Civios as a gateway to relevant research,” says Kate Conners, project director for Civios. “In today’s world, we have to get our research into channels where people are finding information but because it involves public affairs and could impact policy we also want the full research findings available, and this is the best way to achieve that.”

The collection already houses presentations on a wide array of research topics including  predatory criminal justice practices and urban planning, the Mariel boatlift of the 1980s, energy research, and the Minnesota Protocol. New material is scheduled to be added each month. 

To explore the collection and sign up for updates about new material, visit

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