Aimes and objectives
Understanding the chances and risks of digitalization
The internet as a medium of information, communication, participation and cooperation is an integral part of modern life. As an infrastructure and an instrument of interaction and transaction, in the shaping of public opinion and in political mobilization, it has paved the way for economic, social, aesthetic and technical innovations within the space of a few decades. In the process it has triggered massive transformations in almost all social domains from politics and administration to the economy and civil society and even as far as art, culture and private life. This not only opens up vast chances and opportunities but at the same time entails considerable risks and dangers. In order to support the legitimate claim of society to steer these processes in a desirable direction and prevent problematical developments, it is imperative to promote interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research which collaborates with key players in society, politics, administration and business and to include them in a broad discourse on an area of crucial importance for the future.
Collaborating on research
CAIS offers an attractive range of options for creative scientists and dedicated protagonists from politics, business and civil society with its diverse funding possibilities for fellows, project groups and work teams in various forms of cooperation and with different timeframes. The Center enables them to spend a certain time free from other obligations carrying out individual or joint projects on the crucial societal challenges of digitalization. As guests at CAIS they profit from debate and cooperation with other fellows and practice partners in an interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas and incentivizes the study of a wide range of topics and questions.
Dialogue between science and society
The overall aim of CAIS is to play an active role in the research and responsible shaping of the social, political and economic changes brought about by digitalization and thereby promote an ongoing dialogue between science and society. It aspires to being a place of innovative interdisciplinary research and of knowledge transfer as well as being an initiator of a critical public awareness.
Citizens are invited to take part in a variety of public events and contribute to the research at CAIS with their own knowledge of the increasing ubiquity of digitalization and to benefit from research outputs in discussions with the scientists at the Center. Stakeholders from civil society, politics, business and industry, education, culture and the media can engage with fellows at CAIS to develop guidelines for life in a digital society.
The agenda at CAIS addresses ethical, political, legal, economic, social, pedagogical, cultural and technological issues regarding the socially responsible development of the internet:
- Economy and Labour: What is the future of work when more and more tasks are being automated and occupations are disappearing entirely? What impacts does digitalization have on markets and consumers? What implications do Big Data and the sharing economy have for labour markets and the welfare system? Can digital communication in businesses create new possibilities of worker participation and joint decision making?
- Democracy and the public sphere: What opportunities does the internet offer for civic engagement and political participation? How do users access information on socially relevant topics on the internet? How do algorithms influence individual behaviour and public opinion? What are the potential risks of the misuse of the internet through anti-democratic groups?
- Governance and regulation: What legal and regulatory challenges are posed by the Internet? How pressing are the concerns relating to the privacy of personal data in a fast-paced digital age? How can a right to be forgotten be guaranteed on the Internet? How can the governance of the Internet be established in an international context as well as at a national, regional and local level? Should Internet policy be multi-stakeholder-driven i.e. not determined by member states, but by citizens, communities, and broader society?
- Security and trust: How can data protection and data security be implemented in the Internet? Where is the borderline between effective networking and unchecked online profiling? How can the value exchange between customers and service providers be made transparent? How vulnerable is the Internet to cyber-terrorism? How can the freedom of the Internet be enabled in autocratic states?
- Education and knowledge: What will the school of the future look like? What significance will digitalization have for life-long learning? What new learning objectives, qualifications and competencies will be required? How can digital inclusion be fostered?
The CAIS agenda provides an orientation framework for the research projects and collaborative ventures at the Center. At the same time, the agenda is not set in stone: In light of the dynamic development of digitalization and the Internet, it can be amended and expanded at any time. The programs are therefore open to applications with innovative approaches and an explorative identification of emerging areas of research and intellectual enquiry.
CAIS offers three programs:
In the fellow program national and international scholars as well as practitioners in the field and public figures can reside at the Center for up to six months. In this time the fellows live and work in Bochum and have the opportunity to conduct individual or joint projects.
In the project program cooperation groups and work teams can make use of the resources at CAIS for workshops, meetings, and conferences for the conception and implementation of joint projects.
In the event program CAIS provides support for conferences, workshops, symposiums, seminars, summer schools and further comparable events which are partly or entirely financed by CAIS and take place at its location.
During their stay at the Center fellows and guests are provided with flexible office space and rent-free accommodation. Travel expenses to and from the Centre (return ticket) are covered. If necessary, funding for the salary or costs of a substitute at the home institution can be provided within reasonable limits.
Fellows and guests are free to pursue autonomous research and collaborative exchange according to their own priorities. Joint activities include colloquia for the internal presentation and discussion of research work and projects as well as meals with external guests. Public lectures, digital presentations and workshop discussions as well as a documentation in ‘CAIS Studies’ are obligatory to inform a wider audience of the work at the Center.
CAIS is located in modern premises on the Universitätsstrasse halfway between the university and the city centre, symbolizing its mission to provide a bridge between science and the public.
CAIS is easy to reach by public transport and is just minutes from the university and the city centre.
For the Center, 380m² of flexible office space is available which allows for individual offices as well as group rooms and conference rooms. In total 20 working spaces are provided for fellows and staff. A tea-kitchen and a spacious lounge allow for an informal exchange among fellows, staff and guests. On the upper floor of the building there is a fully equipped kitchen, a dining area and a conference room with up to 75 seats which can also be used for the social and scientific activities at the Center.
More detailed information on the location and premises is to follow.