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Affinity Map

The Affinity Map concentrates attention to the study of scholars' at EPFL. How they end up to work together? Why? Which are the invisible mechanisms that enables collaborations in research?
The goal is about visualizing scientific collaborations through four maps: research, teaching, grants and subjects of research. Four maps intended as tools to improve understanding of complex organizations such as the ENAC School and foster discussions between scholars.

The Affinity Map is an exploratory doctoral thesis conducted by Dario Rodighiero, under the supervision of Frédéric Kaplan, director of the DHLAB, and Boris Beaude, research associate at the Chôros laboratory of Geography. The project is promoted by the ENAC dean and professor Marilyne Andersen.

Studying collaborations, intended as affinities which bring together scholars, is at the base of the study. Which are the affinities? How they can be classified? Current data are able to represent the current form of an organization? A scientific enquire is being performed at the heart of the ENAC, bringing at the light available data stored in information systems.

These data are necessary to produce data visualizations. These visualizations, or maps, will be used and evaluated by different audiences: by the management as political instruments, by the scholars to increase their self-consciousness, and by the public to comprehend what are the subjects of research of a complex organization.

The Affinity Maps would be a reflective practice and an instrument. The ambition is to provide a visual map to better comprehend where a scholar is situated in a complex organization, to understand how people work together, which laboratories share research interests, and widely to communicate a global image of a collective without losing the importance of each single actor.