After a year of planning, the Social Media Lab at the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) has officially opened its new home.

The interdisciplinary research lab is now housed at 10 Dundas East, the hub of digital media research and innovation on campus.

The official launch of the lab was held Tuesday night with key university officials on hand.

Leading a team of researchers equipped with cutting-edge technology is Anatoliy Gruzd, an associate professor at TRSM.

Gruzd said that it’s significant that the research lab is housed in 10 Dundas East, as it is the hub for digital media research on campus. The Social Media Lab works with different disciplines and faculties on campus.

“Now, we’re physically reinforcing this position, being in between departments and faculties as well as being in the same building as the (formerly named) Digital Media Zone (now the DMZ),” Gruzd said. “A lot of our research can be applied to improving organizations’ processes and decision-making so being in this innovative space with the DMZ creates other opportunities for students and other researchers.”

The Social Media Lab is unique in Canada, as it’s one of a few located in a major city, said Mohamed Lachemi, the university’s provost and vice-president academic.

“Research conducted at the Social Media Lab will provide decision-makers with valuable knowledge and insight into how we connect, share information and conduct business in our hyper connected world,” Lachemi said.

With the lab being part of the growing innovative ecosystem on campus, officials said Ryerson is positioning itself in the social media space, Toronto being one of the top cities in the country with an active social media community.

“Ryerson now has over a hundred labs, institutes and centres, and they provide really important opportunities to bring people together to solve problems in creative ways,” said Wendy Cukier, vice-president research and innovation. “The fact that the Social Media Lab is close to the Digital Media Zone means there’s going to be tremendous opportunities to spin off new applications, create companies and jobs.”

Cukier added that researchers like Gruzd and his team are helping bring in more research investments into the university.

“Over the last five years, the research funding brought to Ryerson has increased by 50 per cent so this year we’ve hit $44 million in research coming into the university,” she said. “It’s important to remember that most of the research funding that comes into the university is spent hiring research assistants, lab technicians and so on. In other words, it helps fund our students at all levels from undergraduate to post-doc.”

At the formal launch of the Social Media Lab, researchers featured some of their latest projects, like the Netlytic, a social media analytics and visualization platform; My Tweeps, a reverse Twitter app that helps Twitter users monitor what’s trending among their followers; and the latest PoliDashboard, a tool that helps monitor the real-time Twitter buzz surrounding the 42nd Canadian federal election.

The Social Media Lab is sharing space on the 10th floor of 10 Dundas East with the Legal Innovation Zone, Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Law Practice Program .

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