Barbara van Schewick Awarded Research Prize for Technical Communication 2010

STUTTGART, Germany, October 8, 2010—The German-based Alcatel-Lucent Stiftung for Communications Research today announced that Stanford Law School Associate Professor Barbara van Schewick has received its 2010 Prize for Technical Communication for her pioneering work in the area of Internet – Architecture, Innovation and Regulation. The award is considered one of the most prestigious awards conferred upon researchers working on technical, economic, legal or social aspects of communications networks in Germany.

Specifically, van Schewick is being recognized for making a significant contribution to the international dialogue on the internet and its architecture—both academically and in terms of regulatory matters, and for the extraordinary, interdisciplinary nature of her work, which combines Law, Economics, and the Information Sciences.

Van Schewick’s research covers economic, strategic and regulatory effects on communications networks; how changes in the architecture of the internet influence the economic environment for innovation and competition in the internet; and how the law should react to these changes. In this, her work serves to improve the understanding of fundamental design principles for communications networks and their relationship to the architecture of the internet. Van Schewick’s contributions on the topic of “net-neutrality” have significantly influenced academic and regulatory debate in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and the American Federal Communications Commission has relied upon van her expert opinions. Her ground-breaking book “Internet Architecture and Innovation” was published by MIT Press in the summer this year.

About Barbara van Schewick
Barbara van Schewick is Associate Professor of Law at Stanford University Law School, Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Electrical Engineering at Stanford’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Van Schewick studied Information Sciences at the Technische Universität Berlin [Technical University Berlin] as well as Law at the Freie Universität Berlin [Free University Berlin]. She did her clerkship in Berlin. After the second Staatsexamen [State Examination] she spent 15 months as the first Residential Fellow at the newly founded Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. After her doctorate at the Technische Universität Berlin for which she was awarded the Dieter-Meurer Prize for Legal Information Science of the EDV-Gerichtstag as well as the Science Prize of the German Stiftung für Recht und Informatik [Foundation for Law and Information Science], van Schewick worked as a scientific collaborator in the area of telecommunications networks at the Technical University Berlin. In the summer of 2007 she was called to Stanford University as Assistant Professor of Law and (by courtesy) Electrical Engineering where, after having fist served as co-director, she took over the directorship of the Center for Internet and Society. Barbara van Schewick was Studienstipendiatin [Doctoral Scholar] of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes [Studies Foundation of the German People] and Foreign Scholarship recipient of the Gottlieb Daimler- und Karl Benz-Stiftung [Karl Benz Foundation].

The Global Significance of Van Schewick’s Work
According to the prize jury: van Schewick’s outstanding achievement is based on her interdisciplinary work. She critically illuminates key issues of global significance and provides concrete suggestions for the Internet’s continued development. Even early on, her dissertation, which was supervised by Professor Bernd Lutterbeck (TU Berlin) and Professor Lawrence Lessig (during his tenure at Stanford Law School), dealt with internet architecture, internet architecture based design principles such as the end-to-end principle, and the innovation made possible through these principles. An important area of her work is “net neutrality.” The principle of “net neutrality” gives users the right to use Internet applications and access or download their choice of content without interference from service providers. Currently, there’s a debate over the value to society and the economic impact of “net neutrality” to service providers and to users. Van Schewick’s work shows that the original architecture of the Internet used to be innovation-friendly, but it has come under the influence of network providers and is moving a direction that makes innovation clearly more difficult for application development. For society, this shift is problematic and poses a major policy question: whether the state should intervene in this development through net neutrality regulation.

About the Research Prize for Technical Communication
The Board of Directors of the Alcatel-Lucent Stiftung, chaired by Professor Jürgen Mittelstraß, Konstanz University, presents a yearly award for outstanding research contributions under the topic “Mensch und Technik in Kommunikationssystemen [Man and Technology in Communications Systems].”

This year’s award ceremony took place today at 5:00 PM in the Weisse Saal [White Hall] of the Neue Schloss [New Castle] in Stuttgart.

About the Alcatel-Lucent Stiftung für Kommunikationsforschung
The Alcatel-Lucent Stiftung für Kommunikationsforschung is a non-profit foundation in fiduciary support of the Foundation Association for German Science e.V. It furthers science with events, projects and publications. Through a multidisciplinary science-oriented network, it addresses all aspects of new broad-band media, including fundamental questions posed by our “Information Society,” including the interaction between humans and technology, e-government, media and information law, protection of privacy, data security, communications safety, as well as mobility communications. More information can be found online at:

To learn more, read the full press release (in German).