The WWTF Digital Humanism Call 2020
The special call within the thematic programme "Information and Communication Technology" aims at facilitating interdisciplinary research between social sciences & humanities (SSH) and ICT. The projects to be submitted in this call should improve the understanding of current fundamental questions in digitalisation in its social and human dimension and thereby aim at re-conceptualizing the development of digital technologies.
Please note that due to the on-going COVID-19 crisis and its unknown unknowns this schedule might be subject to change. We apologize for that. By all means we will provide sufficient time to the applicants for developing ideas and writing a proposal. Please consult this website for up-to-date information!
- Opening of the call: mid-April 2020
- Online Matchmaking Event: June 19,2020:
- Deadline for submission of short proposals (online): September 22, 2020, 2 pm.
- Communication about the invitation to submit a full proposal: Early November 2020
- Deadline for submission of full proposals: January 28, 2021, 2 pm.
- Communication of the funding decision: End of May 2021
What is Digital Humanism?
The term and narrative we employ for this is Digital Humanism. It is a term that is quite new and not very common. We are aware of this and therefore, we aim to explain it: Digital Humanism both embraces digital technologies and is aware about the risks and downsides of digitalisation. It strives for a more inclusive and sustainable technological development and aims to avoid purely economically-driven digitalisation processes and closed engineering-driven design. Engaging with digitalisation from the perspective of Digital Humanism in science therefore means:
- Building on human and societal values which are key to current and future society.
- Forming alliances between SSH and ICT to rethink digitalisation and contributing to a long-term paradigmatic shift.
- Combining social and technological progress on a level playing field by stronger linking digitalisation to human values.
- Being constructive and inventive rather than expressing fundamental critique only.
In principle we see Digital Humanism both in this call and as a field of research open to any scientific discipline. It also covers all areas in which digitalisation matters and plays a role. Hence we explicitly avoid to define topics top down. This in turn, makes it harder to imagine what Digital Humanism might comprise topic-wise. In early 2019, WWTF conducted a study of research what is already there in Vienna that might connect to Digital Humanism. This might be a starting point (Disclaimer: the study does not claim to be complete. We have surely omitted certain areas. Hence, if you do not find your research in this study, your research could still be eligible for this call).
Furthermore, TU Wien organized an international workshop on the topic of Digital Humanism last year. As an outcome, The Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism was produced as a common effort. The emphasis of the Manifesto is rather on the normative aspects of Digital Humanism, and is thus not congruent to this call, however, it catches the overall spirit of Digital Humanism nicely by the emphasis of humanism and enlightenment as traditions which should, again, be in the center of technological progress.
Om May 14, 2020 TU Wien organized the virtual conference "Digital Humanism: Informatics in the Times of COVID-19". The video of the conference is available on Youtube.
The call invites researchers from both Social Science & Humanities (including art-based research) (SSH) and Informatics (or similar) disciplines in technical areas) (ICT) to collaborate across disciplines to submit projects on the topic of Digital Humanism (see above).
- What projects can be submitted content wise?
- Research projects may tackle issues from all areas of digitalisation: democracy, culture, education, economy, labour, health, media, politics and many more. Projects can address selective aspects of digitalisation issues, such as ethics, regulation, sustainability, privacy, gender, responsibility, diversity, fairness, etc. All fields of ICT and SSH are eligible and invited to collaborate in the projects. To facilitate bottom-up ideas, WWTF purposely provides no list of topics.
- Key element of the projects should be: (1) developing an in-depth understanding of selected aspects of digitalisation that includes both technical and societal / human aspects based on evidence, and (2) on that basis, providing mid- to long-term concepts to rethink digitalisation processes to be more aligned with human values.
- Development of applications and tools that do not include fundamental research questions is not eligible in this call: No quick fixes - this call aims for a longer-term perspective!
- From the SSH side, the inclusion of (quantitative and/or qualitative) research that is grounded in the real-world is strongly encouraged. Projects in the area of digital humanities are not covered by this call.WWTF also encourages more risky proposals aiming at new questions, methods and collaborations.
- Projekt Team and Collaborations
- The teams should include researchers from both sides: social sciences / humanities / art-based research and technical disciplines in the field of ICT (informatics, data science, etc.), i.e. interdisciplinary collaboration is mandatory in this call. You can either use this platform to find collaboration partners or find them in other ways.
- WWTF sets great value upon gender balanced teams. Young and/or female scientists are especially encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.
- No industry involvement is required. Industry partners are not eligible for funding.
- Non-academic collaboration partners (e.g. NGOs) can be part of the research team, however, the project itself should be predominantly academic.
- Project duration is 2-4 years. In total, at least € 2.0 million are dedicated to this call. The funding range per project is € 200,000 to 400,000.
- Requested funding for non-personnel costs must not exceed 25% of the total budget.
- Please refer to the WWTF Funding Guidelines regarding the eligibility of your institution.
- A researcher can appear in a key role (PI, Co-PI, or Core Team Member) in two proposals at most.
Schedule and Steps in the Application
The project call is organized in two stages: In the first step, WWTF accepts submitted short proposals (please see above for eligibility criteria) and performs a formal eligibility check. An international jury will selected about 20 proposals that will be invited to write a full length application (for which they have 3 months to write). Submitted full proposal will undergo international peer review. Based on the review reports, the international jury will select those projects that will receive funding. The jury's decision has to be approved by WWTF boards.
For more details about the proposal submission, see: https://www.wwtf.at/programmes/information_communication/#ICT20
Please note that this platform will not be able to handle project submissions. Submissions of projects have to performed on the WWTF Submission Website. WWTF only accepts electronic submissions via the submission website.