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Press Release No. 48 | 26 October 2018
DFG Appoints Expert Commission on the Sciences and Humanities in the Digital Age

Differentiated analysis of the digital turn in the sciences and humanities / Initial meeting in Bonn

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has appointed a commission of leading experts to analyse and reflect on the various dimensions and possible impacts of the digital turn in the sciences and humanities. Consisting of eleven members representing research, industry and the digital world, the commission will contribute to the fundamental positioning of the DFG in relation to the sciences and humanities in the digital age. The initial meeting of the commission was recently held in Bonn.

“The ever-increasing use of digital technologies in research and their wide-ranging impacts on fundamental processes, principles and frameworks of research demand a differentiated and precise analysis and a carefully considered approach that meets the needs of all branches of science and the humanities,” said DFG President Prof. Dr. Peter Strohschneider, chair of the commission. “The expert commission will therefore examine the whole dynamic of the digital turn as it affects the sciences and humanities, including its technical, legal, financial, organisational, social, ethical and epistemic aspects.”

The commission’s members are (in alphabetical order): DFG Vice President Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Allgöwer, Systems Theory and Automatic Control, University of Stuttgart; Markus Beckedahl, netzpolitik.org e.V., Berlin; Prof. Dr. Folkmar Bornemann, Computational Science, Technical University of Munich; Prof. Dr. Thomas Dandekar, Bioinformatics, Biocenter of the University of Würzburg; Priv.-Doz. Dr. Eckhard Elsen, CERN, Geneva; Prof. Dr. Fotis Jannidis, German Philology, University of Würzburg; Dr.-Ing. Peter Leibinger, TRUMPF Laser GmbH + Co. KG, Ditzingen; Prof. Dr. Armin Michael Nassehi, Sociology, LMU Munich; Prof. Dr. Kerstin Schill, Cognitive Neuroinformatics, University of Bremen; Prof. Dr. Judith Simon, Ethics in Information Technology, University of Hamburg.

The work of the new commission will be divided into four major thematic blocks. The first is “Processes in Research”, followed by “Digital Assets of Research and their Importance to Research as a Social System”, which will build on the data, publications and software identified in the first block. The last two blocks, “Methods and Concepts of Research” and “Digital Methods and Scientific Principles” will link directly to the other blocks. The commission’s work is scheduled to be concluded at the end of 2019, after which similar work may be continued in a future DFG Senate commission on the digital turn in the sciences and humanities.

The expert commission forms part of a multi-stage process with which the largest research funding organisation and central self-governing organisation of the research community in Germany aims to address the digital turn in the sciences and humanities. There is also a multi-year structuring project at the DFG Head Office to identify ways of further developing the DFG’s funding activities and instruments and of advising politicians and the public.

Further Information

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