Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber will lead the programme for the next five years at CAIS and will be on leave from the University of Duisburg-Essen during this time. With his team, he will research how democracy changes in a digital society and how it can be promoted through digitalisation.
How do political decision-making processes change when votes or elections are digitally supported? How can digital tools and virtual spaces improve citizen participation? The researchers at CAIS are investigating how new technologies can be used for the common good: “We currently see that digital tools can give a voice to people who are otherwise not heard. Nevertheless, the concerns of many people are left out of modern negotiation processes because of a lack of access or competences. Our focus is on the conditions under which digital innovations can strengthen the common good in democratic processes,” explains Professor Bieber.
The research programme is a result of the newly developed “CAIS Research Incubator”. Behind this is a process of systematic search for topics, in which numerous experts from research, but also from different areas of society, are involved. The focal points of the programme are therefore highly topical. “The start of the first research programme is the next major milestone in the development phase of our research institute. It will show how we work at CAIS: Scientifically sound, methodologically innovative and design-oriented,” says CAIS Director Prof. Dr. Michael Baurmann.
The research programme is committed to an open understanding of science and will use innovative methods such as data donations, citizen science or real laboratories to advance new forms of data collection, evaluation and application-oriented implementation. In this way, the research results not only help science, but are also implemented and tested in various, practical areas. “Right from the start, we are striving for cooperation, for example, with smart city managers from Bochum, Krefeld, Gelsenkirchen and other cities in the Ruhr region,” says Bieber.
Further research programmes planned
The next research programme on educational technologies and the role of artificial intelligence will follow from mid-2022. In the course of 2023, research programmes on “Sustainability and Digitalisation” and on “Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence” will begin.