Research Aimed At Combatting Fake News Wins Regional STEM Project of Year Award 

A grant involving two Newhouse School researchers looking into technology to detect manipulated media and combat the spread of fake news has been honored with the STEM Project of the Year Award by the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY). 

The effort led by Jason Davis, research professor and co-director of the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab and Regina Luttrell, senior associate dean, is investigating the creation and testing of artificial intelligence algorithms that can identify manipulated media.  

Four people sit a table and smile
Newhouse faculty members Jason Davis and RC Concepcion, senior associate dean Regina Luttrell and student researcher Aatmaj Janardanan pose for a photo with the STEM Project of the Year Award at the Celebration of Technology Awards Banquet at Le Moyne College on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023.  

Davis and Luttrell received the award Monday night during TACNY’s 23rd Celebration of Technology Awards Banquet, held at Le Moyne College. The STEM Project of the Year honor goes to an outstanding technology project, invention or process designed, invented or constructed in Central New York. 

“This research initiative highlights Newhouse’s ongoing dedication to tackling some of today’s most complex issues and making substantial contributions with global impact,” Luttrell said.  

Davis and Luttrell’s research is tied to a subcontract that is part of the Semantic Forensics program, which is funded by an $11.9 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract with PAR Government Systems Corp. The Semantics Forensics program seeks to create a system for automatic detection, attribution and characterization of falsified media assets.  

“The program is actively involved in developing and evaluating solutions that help identify and counter disinformation, ranging from conventional human-generated content to emerging threats driven by advanced generative AI,” Davis said. 

The project was nominated by the Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering (CASE) at Syracuse University, a state-designated Center for Advanced Technology that has provided funding for the project since fall 2022.  

SU CASE receives funding support from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) to advance industry-sponsored research at Syracuse University in information systems and related domains.  

“CASE has been delighted to provide ongoing support for graduate students working on this project that is conducting cutting-edge research in an area of great current interest and significant societal impact,” said Pramod Varshney, executive director of SU CASE.