In the course of the new funding program of the “HHU Future Groups” of the Heinrich Heine University, the rectorate has selected three innovative research ideas to support them financially for a maximum of three years.
With the project “DiscourseData4Policy” led by Prof. Dr. Stefan Dietze, a research group with DIID participation prevailed in the competition and is working on AI-based understanding of online solidarity discourses for evidence-based policy making. Stefan Dietze explains, “For evidence-based policy making and its public communication, it is necessary to understand social discourses. How do they depend on social and media events? Especially in dynamic fields of action such as the Corona pandemic, migration or climate policy, data from social media help to identify social trends, opinion patterns and behavioral intentions. Our interdisciplinary project uses methods from AI and machine learning to make such online discourses on Twitter understandable and usable. Interactions between social events, political measures and their social acceptance can thus be better understood.”
Prof. Dr. Martin Mauve
Board, Computer Science
Prof. Dr. Martin Mauve is heading the chair for computer networks and communication systems at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf. Since 2015 he is also dean of the faculty for mathematics and natural sciences at the same university.
His research interests include secure and robust distributed systems, computer supported collaborative work and online participation. A special focus of his work is on scalable support for discussions and decision making. In the context of the DIID he is particularly interested in novel concepts for dialog-based online-participation and its technical realization.
Prof. Dr. Frank Marcinkowski
Dr. Frank Marcinkowski has joined the Institute for Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf as Professor of Communication in October 2017.
His research and teaching areas include communication theories, political communication and online media. At DIID he is interested in public perceptions, evaluation and opinion formation of digitalization.
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Tobias Escher
Board, Computer Science, Political Science, Sociology
Tobias Escher leads a junior research group funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, focused on the effects of citizen participation on quality and legitimacy of political decisions regarding the transformation towards sustainable mobility, in particular on the local level. Previously he has managed both the Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID) and the PhD programme on local level online participation (NRW Forschungskolleg) of Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf. His research interests are the design and evaluation of participatory processes online and offline. His particular focus is the potential contribution of citizen participation for increasing the quality and legitimacy/acceptance of political decisions. He has also developed a course on the theory and practice of online participation, a result of which has been a platform allowing students to shape their course curricula.
Tobias Escher is a social scientist with a PhD in Information Science, Communication Studies and the Social Sciences from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. To asses the opportunities as well as the limitations of digital technologies he can also rely on his basic knowledge of Computer Science. Having previously worked and studied in Oxford, London, Leicester and Berlin, he joined Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf in 2011.
Dr. Christopher Starke
Alumni, Communication Studies
Since 2021, Christopher Starke works a post-doctoral researcher at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research and at the interdisciplinary research hub Human(e) AI of the University of Amsterdam. He is currently leading the two externally funded research projects ‘Discourse Data for Policy’ and ‘Responsible Academic Performance Prediction’ together with colleagues at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.
In his research, Christopher investigates the impact of artificial intelligence on democracy. This includes the following research areas: Perceptions of fairness, legitimacy, and technocracy regarding algorithmic decision-making systems in the public sector; potentials and challenges of AI to combat corruption; political consumerism in the attention economy.