Necessity of the DSI Excellence Program

Doctoral students are the next generation of scientists. It is therefore crucial for their future prospects that their competences are always up to date with the latest developments. The combination of digitalization, rapidly growing data volumes and the strategies of Open Science, Open Data and Open Access creates completely new opportunities in research. Barriers to access data and complex analytical methods from various disciplines can only be reduced if doctoral students from all discplines have new knowledge, skills, and abilities. Only then will students become part of a world in which the core of scientific work is comprised of interdisciplinary cooperation, critical evaluation and interpretation of large amounts of digital information, and creative solutions to important questions of knowledge.
Digitalization is fundamentally changing science and society at an ever-increasing pace. The process of digitalization puts existing paradigms into question, enables new approaches for research and teaching, changes the object of investigation of many sciences and requires new competences in a rapidly changing social reality. It is the task of all scientific disciplines and society as a whole to critically reflect and shape these developments. The UZH Digital Society Initiative (DSI) offers an independent scientific platform at UZH to promote critical, interdisciplinary reflection and innovation in all aspects of the digitalization of society and science. Therefore, the goal of the DSI Excellence Program for PhD Students is to impart these competences.

Goal of the DSI Excellence Program

The Excellence Program pursues a key goal: to be able to think academically mature about digitalization beyond disciplinary boundaries. This requires critical reflection on digitalization, the ability to change perspectives, interdisciplinary flexibility, problem-oriented conceptual work as well as research communication and publication appropriate for the target groups. Exactly these competences are acquired in a collegial and creative atmosphere with the DSI community, expanded in an exclusive peer network and made visible nationally and internationally at a central institution such as the Digital Society Initiative. Graduates of the DSI Excellence Program have competences in digitalization at the levels of knowledge, skills and abilities. Great importance is given to the acquisition of interdisciplinary competences and their transferability into practice.