Gordon Gow, PhD

Professor and Director



About Me

Gordon Gow is Professor of Communication and Academic Director of the Graduate Program in Communications and Technology (MACT) in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta. From 2003-2006 he was lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, where he was Director of the Graduate Programme in Media and Communications Regulation and Policy.

Awards, Grants, and Commissions

McCalla Professor (2016-2017).  Joint Education and Training Initiative in Technology Stewardship and Digital Leadership

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2012-2015). Partnership development to explore innovative uses of low cost communication technology for knowledge mobilization in agricultural communities of practice. (Principal Investigator)

Kule Institute for Advanced Study (2011-2012). Environmentally sustainable farming practices through a technology-enhanced community of practice approach (Principal Investigator)

SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2008-2011). Emergency Alerting at Canadian Post-Secondary Educational Institutions (Principal Investigator)

International Development Research Centre (2008-2010). Real-time Biosurveillance Project: Sri Lanka and India. (Co-investigator)

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2004 Contributions Programme, Prepaid Mobile Phones and Privacy Rights (2004-2006)

International Telecommunications Union, Strategy and Policy Unit, Privacy and Ubiquitous Network Societies Workshop (2005)

European Commission, Digital Business Ecosystem Project, Regulatory Issues Working Group (2004-2006)


Dr. Gow’s research interests revolve around the social impact of new communication technologies in the areas of community engagement, public safety, public health, and international development. Recent projects include a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant on using low-cost digital technologies to support agricultural communities of practice in Sri Lanka. The project has led to an ongoing partnership between the University of Alberta, University of Guelph, and the University of Peradeniya. The groundwork for this project was supported with a grant from the Kule Institute for Advanced Studies (KIAS) at the University of Alberta. Dr. Gow recently concluded another SSHRC-funded project looking at emergency alerting at Canadian post-secondary institutions, which examined behavioural, policy, and technology aspects of crisis response planning. Dr. Gow has also been involved with an IDRC-funded study on the use of mobile phones for health surveillance in Sri Lanka and India.

Dr. Gow is director of the MARS (Mobile Applications for Research Support) Lab within the Communications and Technology Graduate Program at the University of Alberta. The MARS Lab is a “nomadic laboratory” that supports the use of mobile and wireless communications technologies for both scholarly and community engaged research. The Lab provides access to a collection of wireless devices, software tools and expertise and to help researchers better incorporate a range of mobile communications tools and applications into research projects.

Support is offered for a number of activities including text messaging campaigns, real-time remote data collection, locative media projects, and mobile social media studies. The Lab also conducts research into the technical, administrative, methodological, and ethical dimensions of using mobile communications tools in research.

At present the Lab is working with researchers involved in campus and public safety, civic engagement, and mobile learning activities. The MARS Lab began work in 2009 as an initiative of the Graduate Program in Communication and Technology and is currently supported through funding from the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta. Recent projects with the MARS Lab are featured here.


I teach graduate courses on the social impact of digital communications, looking at a variety of topics including social construction of technology, contemporary issues in social media, online communities, digital leadership and transformation, community informatics and ICT for Development.

Graduate students who are interested in the social impact of mobile communications or who would like to become involved in community-engaged research projects are encouraged to contact Dr. Gow.