Research

The Weizenbaum Institute conducts interdisciplinary and fundamental research regarding the interaction between digitalisation and society. Designing digitalisation for the benefit of society and protecting self-determination and involvement within the networked society are focal points of its research.

The institute combines interdisciplinary fundamental research with the exploration of concrete solutions in practical labs and the transfer of knowledge in politics, business and society.

Interdisciplinarity

Digitalisation is a highly complex process, which permeates all spheres of life, research questions can only be treated in an interdisciplinary manner. The Weizenbaum Institute brings together numerous relevant disciplines – such as the social sciences, economics and law as well as design research and computer science – in a single research agenda and develops a global perspective on the processes of digitalisation in society. In this way, a holistic perspective can be developed on the processes of digitalisation in the networked society.

Self-determination

A central social challenge is to ensure democratic self-determination and participation under the conditions of increasing digitalisation and automation. The question of participation and self-determination in a networked society is at the heart of the Institute’s research. Accordingly, the overarching question of the Institute is:

„How can the goals of individual and social self-determination be achieved in a world characterised by digitally mediated processes of transformation and demarcation, and which framework conditions and resources are necessary for their realization?”


Self-determination is understood as the individual and collective ability to recognize, use and shape scope for action. It represents a basic presupposition for the democratic organisation of society and a competitive market economy. 

Cross-Sectional Formats

In addition, there are accompanying cross-sectional research topics, which focus on overarching questions of ethics and the political organisation of the relationship between technology and society.

Research Groups

At the Institute, 20 research groups conduct research on the ethical, legal, economic and social aspects of the internet and digitalisation. The central questions and research approaches of the research groups are aimed at bringing together different disciplinary perspectives on society and digitalisation. Not only current developments are analysed, but also future options for action for politics, economy and society are identified and made available for public discussion. The research groups are assigned to six overarching research topics.

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