Research on Digital Media to Expand

Volkswagen Foundation’s Advisory Council and the State of Lower Saxony select Leuphana’s project for funding

In the past year, thirteen project proposals from all over Lower Saxony were submitted to the Volkswagen Foundation’s program, “Strengthening the competitiveness of Lower Saxony’s universities.” Leuphana University Lüneburg’s proposal to expand the Center for Digital Cultures (CDC) was among those chosen for funding by the Foundation’s panel of experts and by the State of Lower Saxony. This proves once again that the university can successfully place internationally competitive research topics. It is thereby achieving its goal to become an active member within an international research network and, thereby.  to help shape Lower Saxony into an academic center.  The Center’s academic management team is made up of Prof. Dr. Timon Beyes, Dr. Götz Bachmann, Prof. Dr. Martina Leeker and Prof. Dr. Claus Pias. The focus of the research project is to create intensive network with internationally leading academics in the field of digital cultures.  To that end, the State of Lower Saxony has made over three million Euros available from the Lower Saxony Vorab funding initiative over the next three years.

The goal is to establish cooperation between Leuphana and international renown universities, including Harvard, Stanford or MIT, a partner university in India (Bangalore University), as well as leading European research institutes, such as Goldsmiths and the Copenhagen Business School.  The project will also draw the next generation of international researchers and other creative thinkers to Leuphana.  The cultural ruptures of the digital age will be investigated together with over 80 researchers from the Innovation-Incubator’s digital media concentration, as well as with 70 international visiting scholars from within the German Research Foundation’s (DFG) research group for the advanced study of, “Media Cultures of Computer Simulation.”  At the same time, the researchers will also turn to particular aspects such as media philosophy, digital organizational forms, knowledge infrastructures or Big Data. Claus Pias has high expectations for this work: “We now have the necessary conditions to develop new interpretive approaches to understand the global, techno-cultural transformations that the everyday reality of digital media have brought to the fore.  This is a highly-charged and exciting field.”   

The expansion of the Lüneburg Center for Digital Cultures aims to recruit up to 30 up and coming researchers, as well as 16 internationally distinguished experts to investigate the most important topics of the digital transformation.  In October of this year, the first members of the next generation of researchers will arrive in Lüneburg.  In April 2014 the two-year core phase of the project will begin.  That is also when the  prominent experts from Asia, America and Europe will arrive in Lüneburg.  Students will also be able to participate in the research through special event formats and innovative programs of study.

“Research into digital media has become a core area of investigation for Leuphana,” said the full-time, Leuphana Vice President Holm Keller, pointing to the rapid development of the past years.  The university’s Institute on the Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media, founded back in 2010, was the first of its kind in Germany. Investigating the consequences and opportunities of the digital revolution became one of the points of the foci for the EU sponsored Innovation-Incubator Lüneburg. Last year, in October, the university received supplemental funding from the DFG for the creation of a research collegium for the advanced study of “Media Cultures of Computer Simulation,” to be opened in April 2013.  Just this month, Leuphana’s Digital School began its work by starting up the school’s first world-wide online course, “ThinkTank Cities,” under the direction of Daniel Libeskind.  This latest funding approval allows for the extensive expansion of the Center for Digital Culture, an interdisciplinary unit that will systematize, deepen and bundle the research and development work within this field of study.