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Cash awards offered for innovators at IU's School of Informatics and Computing

Indiana University will collaborate with Schurz Communications, an Indiana-based multimedia company, on an innovation challenge beginning this semester. Hoosier undergraduates, graduate students and faculty will be asked to consider real-world digital solutions and opportunities for 21st-century media companies. There will be sizable cash prizes for winning prototypes that meet agreed guidelines.

Beyond money and resume enhancement, participating students will be competing for local, statewide and national media recognition, as Schurz Communications operates cable, high-speed data, TV, radio, print and digital (mobile, social and desktop) media businesses in Indiana and across the U.S. Winning innovators will have opportunities to advance their ideas, as Schurz and its investment partners are actively seeking early-stage technologies.

To enliven projects, the IU School of Informatics and Computing will receive custom feeds, application programming interfaces and real-world datasets from Schurz Communications' wide array of media businesses and vendors.

"We are delighted to partner with Schurz Communications on this exciting collaboration," said Informatics Dean Bobby Schnabel. "Partnerships like this energize our students and create even more excitement about the breadth of opportunities available in the school. Together, Schurz and our school can push the envelope of innovation, encourage entrepreneurial activities and have real impact on the world."

IU's School of Informatics and Computing is the first interdisciplinary information technology school of its kind, where students and faculty use technology to advance discoveries from music to microbiology to media. More than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled there.

"This partnership provides an amazing opportunity for our students to both learn and innovate around the world of information and media concepts provided by Schurz," said Dennis Groth, the school's associate dean for undergraduate studies. "Key to the partnership is the interaction between our students and Schurz professionals, which creates a winning combination of access to information, experience in media and information delivery, and innovative ideas from skilled and energized students."

"Our firm is excited to work with Indiana University's School of Informatics and Computing faculty and students," Schurz CEO Todd Schurz added. "New technologies are providing numerous opportunities for media organizations, citizens, businesses and communities to engage with each other. Indiana University is at the forefront of understanding the impact of technology and how we can best utilize it to improve all areas of our lives."

Among Schurz Communications media outlets are the Bloomington and the Bloomington Herald-Times daily newspaper. Bloomington is also home of Schurz's Center for Excellence in Digital Development.

Schurz Communications media companies provide local communities with a better understanding of the world, as informed local communities make positive impacts on society. Schurz Communications is a 140-year-old, privately held, family-run company with operations dotting the country from Anchorage, Alaska, to Augusta, Ga.

Originally published Aug. 20, 2012.