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Exploring Digital Transformation: Special Funding Program

What are the consequences of digitalization on individuals and society as a whole? Bremen researchers are investigating these questions in four large-scale “exploration projects” and five initial funding projects. Bremen State is providing one million euros in a new type of funding program.

The aim is to specifically strengthen the University of Bremen, the Bremen City University of Applied Sciences, the University of Bremerhaven, and the Bremen University of the Arts in order to generate new knowledge in the dynamically developing field of digital transformation and to bring it into circulation. Additionally, the provided funds are used to support researchers in Bremen State to participate in more extensive research funding programs of the German Research Foundation, the German Federal Government, and the EU.

“The funding comes at just the right time,” says Senator for Science Dr. Claudia Schilling. “Digitalization is revolutionizing society as a whole, so it’s good that the universities in Bremen are taking a closer look at this and are investigating which impact digitalization is having on society. I am happy that we have succeeded in launching this ambitious and important program as part of the Bremen Fund project for the digitalization of universities.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation has received a significant boost and is now affecting all areas of life. But what is the impact on society as a whole and on us as individuals? In order to react to the dynamic changes and to strengthen the scientific as well as scientific-artistic expertise in this important area in the Bremen State, all researchers of Bremen universities were called upon to carry out research projects on the topic of “Society and Individuals in Digital Change – Impact and Organization of Digital Transformation.”

Interdisciplinary Work

The “Exploration Projects” funding line finances collaborative projects that investigate highly relevant, innovative research on the impact of digitalization, even beyond the boundaries of the specialist disciplines. Four projects will be funded with up to 200,000 euros for a period of two-years. One of the University of Bremen’s joint projects with Bremen City University of Applied Sciences is looking into the ways in which digital technologies can help people in need of care (“DigiTech-NH”). The University of the Arts and the Bremen City University of Applied Sciences are investigating which possibilities and changes are offered by the latest digital technologies for architecture and fashion and to what extent these technologies can combine the two different fields. The roll-out of I-Pads across the whole of Bremen’s schools is another important topic. The university and the Bremen City University of Applied Sciences are conducting research to determine how the use of I-Pads in Bremen’s schools can benefit inclusion. Finally yet importantly, the fourth project deals with digitalization and inequality using the example of vocational training in Bremen State.

Researchers and artists who are planning a funding application for digitalization research at the German Research Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, or another external research sponsor and would like to specifically prepare for it with preparatory research work are funded in the “Anschübe” (“impetus”) funding line. For this purpose, five projects will be funded with up to 50,000 euros each:
     
•    “Data Policies and Authoritarianism,” University of Bremen
•    “Digital Surveillance, Authoritarian Politics, and Innovation,” University of Bremen
•    “Against the Current,” University of the Arts and University of Bremen
•    “New Norms for Digitization: An AI Charter for Europeans,” University of Bremen
•    “Picturing the Digital,” University of the Arts

“It is impressive to see so many researchers from all of the public universities in Bremen State participating in the funding program. The chosen projects address important issues and will provide crucial contributions to both research and future political decision-making,” says Senator for Science Dr. Claudia Schilling.
The coordination of the special call for proposals was carried out by the Vice Presidents Research of the four public universities in Bremen. The selection committee consists of members from other public universities. The broad range of topics covered by the funded projects illustrates the scope of digital transformation. For Bremen State, the projects are highly valuable additions to the research landscape and to the cooperation between the universities. The applicants have already presented ambitious plans for follow-up projects, which also intend to strengthen early-career researchers.

[Translate to English:] Studentinnen vor einem Laptop
What are the consequences of digitalization on individuals and society as a whole? Bremen researchers are investigating these questions in four large-scale “exploration projects” and five initial funding projects.