During a news conference at the state capitol with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) inducted Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Information Science and director of the Collaboratorium of Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS), as an ARA Fellow for his contributions to research in Arkansas.

“We are honored to have these immensely talented researchers join the ARA Academy of Scholars and Fellows,” said Jerry Adams, ARA president and chief executive officer.

Since its launch in 2014, the ARA Academy of Scholars and Fellows program recognizes leaders in research who are currently working at one of the five state’s research universities and the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Arkansas. ARA Fellows from university campuses receive a $75,000 grant.

Dr. Nitin Agarwal and his parents are pictured with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

During the ARA press conference on December 13 Gov. Hutchinson said, “ARA impacts our state in so many positive ways, from increasing the amount of federal research funds available in Arkansas to accelerating the commercialization timetable, to connecting research to our established businesses.”

ASA invests in research that stimulates innovation, encourages collaboration and strengthens economic opportunity in areas in which Arkansas possesses core competency.

“I am truly honored to be inducted as a Fellow in the Arkansas Research Alliance by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson,” Agarwal said. “Many thanks to UA Little Rock for the continued support and encouragement. I look forward to working with the great thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers to advance science and contribute toward innovation in the state of Arkansas.

Agarwal started at UA Little Rock as an assistant professor of information science in 2009. Since then, he has developed several courses expanding the scope for students to learn about social computing and established the COSMOS research group, where he mentors dozens of students on cutting-edge research projects.

Agarwal is highly respected for his social media research. He has collaborated with and received funding from influential national and international organizations such as NATOthe U.S. Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Research Lab, the U.S. Army Research Office, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation. His recent research includes studying how governments and groups such as ISIS use social media to spread deviant messages, conduct propaganda campaigns, and influence opinions, behavior, and media coverage.

In November 2018, Agarwal was inducted as a fellow of the Arkansas Academy of Computing for his contributions to computing in Arkansas. Earlier in the year, he was selected as a member of the U.S. State Department’s Tech Demo program to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation. Agarwal and COSMOS researchers will showcase technologies like Blogtrackers and YouTubeTracker, one of COSMOS’ latest applications. These applications track information providers and narratives as misinformation is disseminated through social media networks including blogs, YouTube, and Twitter. The research is the result of projects supported by millions of dollars in federal grants.

Additionally, Agarwal has published eight books and more than 150 peer-reviewed articles that have been recognized with several best publication awards. His work has been extensively covered by local, national, and international media. He participates in many national and international forums, including major global defense venues. Agarwal serves as technical advisor to Little Rock-based firms, including through the FinTech Accelerator.