| Funding programmes | Qualification Programme Digitalisation Research
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Graduate Center for Doctoral Researchers

Qualification Programme Digitalisation Research

Building and consolidating competencies in digitalisation research and cross-institutional networking

Doctoral researchers and postdocs from programmes of bidt, CAIS and the Weizenbaum Institute
Basic knowledge of digitalisation research

We promote fundamental competencies in the research field of digitalisation.

The German institutes for digitalisation research – the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt), the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) and the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society – offer their doctoral students and postdocs a joint, interdisciplinary qualification programme.

The Qualification Programme in Digitalisation Research (QPD) provides a broad knowledge of digital transformation and its research.

It bundles the knowledge and skills of experts from the participating institutions. At bidt, it is part of the Graduate Centre.


Dr. Maria Staudte

Research Coordinator, bidt

Dr. Nina Hahne

Officer for Networking and Promotion of Young Talents, Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS)

Ramona Picenoni

Career Development Officer, Weizenbaum Institute e.V.

Modules and certificates

  • In four modules, interested parties can attend events that give them the knowledge to speak on digitalisation topics and provide them with the tools for their research and public communication.
  • For each of the four modules, the three institutes award a joint certificate that guarantees the quality of the events attended.
  • The certificate provides information about the competencies acquired and can be used as proof in academic and non-academic contexts.
  • Certificates in the qualification programme can only be acquired by researchers from the programmes of the three institutes.

Module 1: Basic knowledge of digitalisation research

The module provides essential knowledge and an overview of digitalisation research. It enables doctoral researchers to speak in an informed, reflective and critical manner about fundamental topics and issues of digitalisation and its research beyond their dissertation project.

The module’s offerings are developed complementary to the subjects involved at the three institutes. Content-related and reflexive approaches to particular topics are sensibly related to each other. The dynamics of the research field are taken into account, as is the question of the social relevance of research questions.

The module has two different event formats: reading seminars and workshops.

  • In the reading seminars, relevant standard texts of a specific topic area are dealt with (e.g., artificial intelligence). Experts guide the joint discussion, which is closely oriented to the texts.
  • The workshops deal with concrete questions or application cases from the research field. They can approach topics in a discipline-specific or interdisciplinary manner (e.g. “Legal issues in digitalisation research based on the GDPR” or “Norms in digitalisation research from a legal, philosophical and communication science perspective”). During the workshop, participants may write a short text or complete another practical task.

Participation in three reading seminars and two workshops is required to obtain the module certificate. External courses may be credited where appropriate. Please contact the responsible contact person from your institution for this.

Module 2: Data Literacy and Digital Methods

Today, research data are more diverse than ever. They are not only collected, stored or processed digitally but often also concern digital phenomena themselves (e.g. trace data from online platforms or other digital technologies). The conscious and safe handling of research data is becoming increasingly important.

This module, therefore, aims to impart competencies for the informed handling of data to be able to work and make decisions based on data independently of the discipline. Thus, research work is to be enabled or supported, and the safe handling of research data is to be ensured.

The focus is particularly on the following skills as facets of data competence:

  • Data acquisition,
  • Data management,
  • Reprocessing and reuse of data,
  • Evaluation and visualisation,
  • ethical aspects of data use and provision

Competencies for the use of data in the personal, social and political spheres are addressed, such as responsibility in dealing with social media data, data protection and ethics, sustainability and access to data in the sense of open access and open data. In this way, doctoral students are also sensitised to, and trained in, aspects of data use, inclusion and fairness.

In the basic area of this module, basic knowledge on how to deal with research data is taught (research data management, data protection and copyright), while the in-depth area offers methodological introductions to specific techniques and processes.

To obtain the overall certificate for the module, the two courses from the basic area and two further courses/workshops from the in-depth area must be taken. External courses can be credited if necessary. Please contact the responsible contact person from your institution.

Module 3: Science Communication and Co-Creation

Research in the digital age is characterised by increasing demands on the communication skills of scientists. In addition to the core area of interaction with the respective specialist public through publications and conference contributions, interdisciplinary exchange beyond the scientific disciplines of origin is also necessary. But mutual dialogue via or with the media (such as Twitter) or media representatives (such as journalists) and social interest groups are increasingly becoming the focus of everyday research. This module is offered to meet these requirements.

It aims to

  • acquire basic competencies for communicating with different publics,
  • get to know co-creative approaches to knowledge production,
  • sensitise for challenges of science communication (such as the use of evidence-based forms of argumentation in normatively charged societal debates),
  • develop a critical and reflexive attitude towards analogue and digital communication media.

In the basic area of the module, elementary know-how of form- and target-group-oriented science communication and co-creative approach to knowledge production is learned. Since digitalisation research should fundamentally include the social and societal consequences of digitalisation, means of participation and sharing, i.e., co-creation, are essential to the research approaches applied there. In the in-depth area, courses are offered on specific sub-aspects of the module topic (e.g. digital storytelling, science communication practice, etc.).

To obtain the overall certificate for the module, the two courses from the basic area and two further workshops from the in-depth area must be taken. External courses can be credited if necessary. Please contact the responsible contact person from your institution. Targeted individual counselling can be provided during the module to help you develop your personal profile.

Module 4: Agile Research

Agile working is a procedure in iterative, short cycles in which the current status and the following work steps and goals are reflected and adjusted. Furthermore, an agile way of working is usually characterised by the early and regular involvement of stakeholders and a high degree of autonomy of the contributors. Agile approaches are prevalent in software development but can also be transferred to research areas and used there.

For example, it can be beneficial in interdisciplinary collaborations – as is typical in digitalisation research – to establish an iterative way of working so that misunderstandings between project partners from different disciplines can be quickly identified and resolved in the ongoing process instead of only becoming visible after completion. Through these increased opportunities for exchange, collaboration and feedback, a shared (or: overarching) understanding is quickly established and transferred into an adaptive work process in joint planning steps. In addition, a design-oriented, positive culture in dealing with failures can be fostered. Furthermore, the involvement of possible stakeholders (in the form of target groups such as politics or civil society) plays a significant role in digitalisation research, so agile approaches can also be used here to optimise exchange.

In Module 4, in addition to the topics in Module 3, different approaches to agile research can be learned, and the methods behind them can be reflected upon. The aim is to understand the specific challenges of interdisciplinary or otherwise diverse teams and to be able to meet them productively.

The two introductory courses of this module, “Intro: Agile Research 101” and “How To: Interdisciplinary Working”, are related to each other in terms of content, as interdisciplinarity is a crucial factor of agile working.

To be able to take into account the skills and needs of the participants right from the start, fundamental questions are first discussed:

  • Where do I stand in my subject?
  • How do I use methods from other disciplines?
  • Which non-subject-related topics am I interested in?

This way, suitable agile research methods can be selected, and a method kit tailored to the research project can be put together.

Individual focal points are set in the in-depth area. In addition to classic topics and methods of agile research such as agile project management, design thinking or Scrum, the political and social framework conditions of scientific work are also addressed. Courses such as “Equality and Gender” or “Positive Error Culture” can clarify the effects of the different shaping of social spaces through epistemic everyday practices and professional research cultures on work processes and results.

This module is designed to help participants develop skills in collaborative teamwork, individual self-organisation, and the reflective use of agile research methods. These skills can be applied to scientific and non-scientific work contexts, allowing participants to balance disciplinary requirements and agile research’s potential effectively.