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More about The Digital Society

The research initiative, The Digital Society, is composed of four research focus areas, DigiTech, DigiHealth, DigiEd and DigiWork.  These research focus areas link together in an interdisciplinary research environment (education, health and welfare, computing and work) and focus on the interplay between digitalisation and society from multiple perspectives. 

Illustration of the four research focus areas that constitute the Digital Society

Pictures: Unknown author, licensed under CC BY,  CC BY-NC-ND; and CC BY-SA-NC

In 2018, the Digital Society was established in response to the broad and extensive spectrum of research being done by our faculties as well as with the research being conducted through our collaborative partnerships at the regional, national and international levels. In addition to our faculty, 30 PhD students are currently involved in a variety of research projects within the four research focus areas that constitute the research initiative. This prodigious array of research projects and opportunities, the comprehensive knowledge of our faculties in the Digital Society's disciplines and our focused effort to bring research and society into the future, collectively provide a solid foundation for the establishment of an interdisciplinary PhD programme. Thus, on the 29th of October 2021, we submitted our doctoral programme accreditation application, Digitalisation and Society

Research perspectives and goals - Based on critical and interdisciplinary perspectives stemming from the four research focus areas (education, health and welfare, computing and work), The Digital Society explores digitalisation processes from three different perspectives: 

  • Artefacts and materiality (digital technology as material and materialised objects)  
  • Activities and practices (how people interact with digital technologies)  
  • Social and organisational arrangements (social and cultural contexts and structures) 

These perspectives constitute independent fields of research and are often interconnected with the different academic disciplines at Østfold University College. The Digital Society builds on such discipline-specific understandings and extends them into an interdisciplinary approach that transgresses the traditional boundaries between natural and social sciences in exploring digital technologies. By this, a deeper and more holistic understanding of the radical and ever-changing digital transformation of our society, is pursued in order to meet current and future societal challenges.


Illustration of the three different perspectives applied in The Digital Society

Based on this approach The Digital Society aims to promote research that:

  • investigates and develops digital tools and technology that will be utilised in different professions and in society in general, i.e. enabling technologies.
  • analyses the consequences of the technology-driven development that society encounters through digitalisation, i.e. the mutual influence and interplay between technology and societal development.

Social relevance and future challenges – As digital technology is rapidly evolving, the need for further understanding and awareness on how digitalisation’s impact has transformed and will continue to transform our society is ever-present. This understanding not only includes the comprehension of society’s utilisation of digital technologies but also the ethical considerations, and the technological and cultural consequences that digital technologies bring to our society (especially when considering the areas of education, health and welfare; and work). Society, as a whole, will need interdisciplinary knowledge, competence and expertise so it can both advance forward with digitalisation and critically evaluate its development process simultaneously.


We invite you to read more about our four research focus areas that build The Digital Society:

DigiEd: education and learning

DigiHealth: health and welfare

DigiTech: applied information technology

DigiWork: work and organisation



Published Nov. 28, 2021 9:59 PM - Last modified Mar. 31, 2022 10:22 AM