North Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Digitalization Research


  Prof. Dr. Michael Baurmann

Scientific Director


  Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber

Head of Reseacrh Incubator

North Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Digitalization Research

Bochum, 30 April 2019

The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to flank universities and research institutions with an Institute for Digitalization Research (working title) that will open up and bring together expertise, and make it visible both nationally and internationally. The institute is committed to actively shaping digital transformation both socially and technologically, and focusing on the potential and challenges for people.

The Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) team has developed a concept for such an institute under the leadership of the directors Prof. Dr. Michael Baurmann and Tim Pfenner, as well as the head of the Research Incubator Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber. The concept was developed in agreement with and with the participation of the support group:

  • University of Bochum
  • University of Duisburg-Essen
  • University of Düsseldorf
  • University of Münster
  • GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
  • Grimme-Institute – Society for Media, Education and Culture
  • RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

The concept of the institute interlinks the humanities and technical sciences in inter- and transdisciplinary research programs. A holistic socio-technological approach enables researchers to examine the digital ­transformation in a way that ranges from questions to do with applications to fundamental questions of digital ethics. The institute will ­form ­an interface in digitalization research by ­addressing ­current ­issues ­relevant ­to society that, because they are multidimensional, ­cannot ­be­ studied by a discipline in isolation.

The center’s profile is characterized by

  • systematic inclusion of ethical­, legal, political, economic, social, medial, cultural, and technical aspects,
  • interdisciplinary connection of different subject areas from the social sciences and humanities to the technical sciences,
  • transdisciplinary combination of pure research and practical application,
  • agile research organization enabling flexible reactions to social, scientific, and technical developments,
  • comprehensive networking of digitalization research in North Rhine-Westphalia and beyond,
  • participatory science communication with research-based Open Science strategy.

The concept for the institute was evaluated positively by an international jury of experts in October 2018. Important steps are currently being taken to implement the concept and enable the institute to be realized. The CAIS team will continue to play a significant role in this process.