The Digital Society
The Digital Society is an interdisciplinary strategic research initiative at Østfold University College. This initiative aims at building and gathering strong research communities that include several research disciplines from different faculties. These communities also have in common that they work with problems relevant to digitalization. An important milestone for this initiative is to get a doctoral programme within digitalization accredited at our institution.
A description of the research initiative The Digital Society
The Digital Society research initiative promotes interdisciplinary research activities on how digitalization transforms and affects society. Projects may aim to develop digital solutions that will change and influence societal functions, or projects may aim to analyze the consequences of new digital solutions on aspects such as health, learning, politics and organizational issues.
- Interdisciplinary - An interdisciplinary approach is important for the research activities that support the program development. Interdisciplinarity is a central requirement for doctoral programmes.
- Social relevance - We need more knowledge on how digitalization can transform, has transformed and will transform our society. This is necessary for the further development of most fields, both when it comes to developing enabling technologies and - not least - their consequences.
- Future challenges - Technological development is escalating and will be decisive as to how the society will work in the future. The society needs competence in these fields to be able to, among other things, critically evaluate the development.
The Digital Society will include research projects that will:
- investigate and develop digital tools and technology that will be put in use in different professions and in society in general
- analyze the consequences of the technology-driven development that the society experiences through digitalization.
The research that will support the program development will for instance focus on how digitalization is linked to health and welfare services, education and learning, innovation processes, public administration, or be based upon the development and testing of new/innovative solutions for society.
The structure of the initiative
The working group and the steering group have been delegated the responsibility for establishing the research initiative, and they work according to an interdisciplinary work model. The establishment work includes several research communities at Østfold University College and most faculties are represented through them. The academic environment that makes up the research initiative is composed of four thematic specializations called DigiTech, DigiHealth, DigiEd and DigiWork. Each of these specializations is dynamic in the way that it is possible to continuously include relevant members. Read more about these specializations and who are coordinating them below.
- DigiTech: The study direction DigiTech represents the research core that will enhance and develop specific knowledge of digital technology. This research module is closely connected with the other modules in the PhD program and will provide knowledge of digital technology applications and development in relation to the working processes, health and learning.
- Coordinator: Associate Professor Jan Høiberg
- DigiHealth: The study specialization DigiHealth comprises an exploration and critical analysis of how the implementation of digital solutions and technology affect health and welfare services, how these innovations are experienced by stakeholders such as patients, clients, relatives and personnel, and to what extent stakeholders can contribute in development and implementations processes. DigiHealth includes three main areas: digital health theory, digital health practices and digital health research. The specialization takes a bio-physio-psychosocial approach, including sociocultural and traditional medical perspectives on health and digitalization. Research projects within DigiHealth may be conducted from a micro, meso and macro perspective, and focus on the introduction and experience of digital solutions in different situations and contexts from the perspectives of patients, clients, relatives and personnel.
- Coordinator: Professor Vigdis Abrahamsen Grøndahl
- DigiWork: Digital technologies bring disparate people, space and time into close proximity. This affects how we structure our society, institutionalise our ethical and political values, and work and interact. DigiWork will study the interplay between digital technologies and society emphasising research on: 1 Challenges of digitalization for ethical, human and social relations. 2 Implications for employment, work content and processes, skills requirements and pay. 3 Impact on industrial relations, enterprises and organisations. 4 Implications for policy-making, regulation and the welfare state. 5 Impact on societal and cultural development, including class, gender and ethnic dimensions of digitalization. DigiWork is interdisciplinary and uses mixed research methods. It explores interactions, processes and outcomes in working life related to professions, humans, organisations, policies and regulations to understand these processes across various fields and sectors.
- Coordinator: Professor Marit Kristine Helgesen
- DigiEd: Research projects within DigiEd will have a focus on how an increasingly digitalized society changes education. Formal educational institutions and settings and a variety of social activities may be explored in order to understand how digital technologies constitute actors, activities, knowledge-, learning- and teaching processes. The focus on projects to be included, may vary from micro-processes such as the use of digital technologies in educational institutions from pre-schools to higher education, to macro processes such as policymaking of education in a digital world or on comparative cases. The ways digital technologies constitute knowledge- and learning processes in various other social activities such as e.g. social media, recreational activities, and organizational work is also of great interest. In DigiEd a variety of research approaches using educational theory to analyze the impact of digitalization are encouraged.
- Coordinator: Professor Hilde Wågsås Afdal