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Challenge Areas


The Challenge Area "Communication" focuses on research related to the impact of digitalisation on human social interaction through various media, the communicative challenges in a digital society, etc. 


Mission statement

What: The challenge area communication serves as an interdisciplinary platform to facilitate collaboration in research, teaching, and society outreach regarding the communicative challenges in digital societies.

How: The challenge area communication organizes various events (e.g., presentations, discussions, workshops) in order to learn about each others perspectives (i.e., theories, methods, projects), facilitate collaboration, and to support the development of new research projects, teaching formats, and society outreach.

Who and whom for: The challenge area communication is open for all UZH researchers and affiliates interested in contributing to our mission to reflect and shape digitalization of communication and its impact on Zurich, Switzerland, and global society.

Thomas Friemel and other UZH researchers are shaping the content of this Challenge Area.


The Challenge Area "Democracy" focuses on research related to the impact of digitalisation on the political system, on democracy, and on related topics.

The main focus of this Challenge Area lies on building up the Digital Democracy Lab (DDL). The DDL supports computational social science research on the implications of digital technology for democracy. It was established in September 2018 at the University of Zurich by Fabrizio Gilardi, Anita Gohdes, and Lucas Leemann, with the generous support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The DDL has two components: the Computational Social Science Hub and the d-Dem platform. The Computational Social Science Hub is an infrastructure to collect, store, process, and analyze text and social media data, and survey response data via an online panel. It supports data collection and analysis for scientific research. The d-Dem platform tracks political debates and opinions online and offline, and presents analyses in a format accessible to the general public.


The Challenge Area "Health" focuses on research related to digital changes in healthcare, digital tools for understanding diseases and improving health, individualized healthcare, etc.


Mission statement

The Challenge Area "Health" has as mission to bring together and capitalize upon independent academic expertise from various scientific domains in order to openly reflect and guide research on, apply and assess digital changes, digital tools and AI algorithms in the health domain, ensuring through critical thinking that digitalization will benefit patients and population.


To build and maintain a DSI health community platform for designing, developing and implementing, with best-practice standards, digital health projects at the University of Zürich, drawing from mutual exchange, sharing knowledge and know-how within the DSI community "Health" and with other DSI stakeholders and partners.


Upcoming Events

September 12-13, 2019: Text Analytics for Health: Application and Implications - a Workshop by the DSI Challenge Area Health 
More information is available here.


Corine Mouton Dorey and other UZH researchers are shaping the content of this Challenge Area.


The Challenge Area "Mobility" has the aim to foster research related to the impact of digitalisation on mobility, smart cities, and associated topics such as sustainability. 


Anja Schulze and other UZH researchers are designing the content of this Challenge Area.


The Challenge Area "Work" wants to promote research related to the impact of digitalisation on the economy, innovation and work, and the associated societal changes.


Mission Statement

The Challenge Area "Work" aims to promote research into the effects of digitalisation on the economy, innovation and work. To this end, the Challenge Area "Work" provides a platform and network for a cross-faculty and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas among researchers and other interested parties. Regular meetings that enable an uncomplicated exchange of ideas and know-how, the organization of lectures, workshops and conferences, the writing of publications and the launch of interdisciplinary teaching and research projects are a selection of activities that the Challenge Area "Work" organizes and supports. All this - against the background and in the realization that digitalisation also challenges existing paradigms in the field of "work" - enables new forms of research and teaching, and demands new skills in a rapidly changing society. The Challenge Area "Work" aims to scientifically accompany the process of digitalisation and thus contribute to positioning the University of Zurich and its Digital Society Initiative both nationally and internationally as a competence center for the critical reflection of all aspects of digital society.


Roger Marcel Rudolph and other UZH researchers are designing the content of this Challenge Area.



Cross Cutting Topics

Digital Ethics Lab

Markus Christen and other UZH researchers are shaping the content of this Cross Cutting  Topic.