Prof. Dr. Susanne Boll
Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems

Prof. Dr. Markus Tepe
Political System of Germany


MSc Saja Aljuneidi

+49 441 9722-520

Teil des Forschungszentrums Human-Cyber-Physical Systems

Call for Applications: SEAS multi-disciplinary PhD Summer School 2021

Call for Applications: SEAS multi-disciplinary PhD Summer School 2021

„Researching the social embeddedness of digitalisation and Autonomous Cyber Physical Systems – conceptual and methodological challenges”

27-28 September 2021, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg/Germany (online event)

The cross-faculty Research Training Group (RTG) "Social Embeddedness of Autonomous Cyber Physical Systems (SEAS)" at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg invites doctoral candidates of computer science, social sciences, philosophy, psychology and law to…

  • intensively discuss current conceptual and methodological concerns of their PhD projects with international peers of their field;
  • learn from the experiences of senior researchers by gaining insights into their actual research processes;
  • broaden their understanding of different theoretical and methodological approaches in researching the social embeddedness of digitalization and Autonomous Cyber Physical Systems (ACPS) by actively engaging with the variety of participants’ foci.

The digital revolution is in full swing and is presumed to induce a profound change of our social, political and economic life. It opens up opportunities for a better quality of life, novel business models and more efficiency and effectiveness of politico-administrative systems. At the same time, it poses the question of how the digital revolution shall be steered in a way that is consistent with normative and ethical foundations of libertarian civil societies, which are a precondition for modern democratic statehood. Technologically, Autonomous Cyber Physical Systems (ACPS) are increasingly at the center of the process of digital transformation. They are controlled or monitored by autonomously acting algorithms while being embedded into our daily routines (e.g., autonomous cars, smart grids, e-health assistance systems). We can easily project that with ACPS we will observe an increase of automation and automated decision-making. However, there are also growing normative, societal and legal concerns about the acceptance, cooperation with and governance of such systems.

These empirical developments pose considerable challenges for multi-disciplinary empirical research – both in regard to concepts and methods. However, we lack an in-depths discussion on those challenges and how they are coped with. We thus need more opportunities to exchange experiences regarding the difficulties of research processes behind the shiny façade of completed journal articles and PhD theses. This PhD Summer School aims at creating a space where this is possible.

Structure of the SEAS PhD Summer School

The summer school follows the format of “peer supervision”: All participants introduce their PhD projects during an ice-breaker session and pose 1-2 conceptual or methodological questions from their PhD project. Each participant is then intensively consulted on the submitted question(s) by 3-4 other participants for up to one hour.

This intense format produces mutual inspiration and opens up new perspectives on one’s own project. The aim of this highly interactive format is to provide in-depth and concrete feedback to pressing issues in every participant’s PhD project and a space for mutual learning. The key findings from each consulting session are reported back to the group by dedicated rapporteurs. At the end of the workshop, the rapporteurs try to synthesise the challenges and solutions from the consulting sessions.

Additionally, senior researchers give insights into their research experiences, including dead ends, challenges and winning strategies from their projects in the field of social embeddedness of digitalization and Autonomous Cyber Physical Systems (ACPS).

Who may join the SEAS PhD Summer School?

The SEAS PhD Summer School is open to doctoral candidates working in the field of computer science, social sciences, philosophy, psychology and law with some priority given to applicants researching one or more of the safety-critical domains (mobility, energy and health care) and/or the three explanatory dimensions of SEAS (acceptance, cooperation and governance). Relevant topics include, for example: the design, implementation and effects of Autonomous Cyber Physical Systems (ACPS) or algorithm accountability, responsibility and governance. Participants are expected to actively contribute to the workshop, which includes:

  • introducing themselves and their dissertation project;
  • a written summary of their PhD project and 1-2 questions they would like to be consulted on at the workshop;
  • reading the circulated summaries and questions of their fellow participants beforehand and
  • actively engaging in the consulting sessions and senior researchers’ presentations.

Organization and costs

All sessions of the programme of the SEAS Summer School will be conducted online. There will not be any participation fee. On the evening of the first summer school day, a voluntary networking event will be organised in Oldenburg. Participants will have to fund their own travel costs, if they want to join the on-site event.

How to apply?

To apply for the SEAS PhD Summer School 2021, please submit the following documents:

  • personal details (name, contact details, academic affiliation, supervisors);
  • summary of your dissertation project (max. 5 pages): title, research question/puzzle/objectives, theoretical framework, methodological approach, current stage within the research process, if present: first results/findings;
  • outline of 1-2 questions, concerns or challenges in your PhD project that you would like to be consulted on (2 pages).
  • Please also indicate to which category your questions belong:
    • the conceptual part of research (e.g., formulating research questions, motivating a puzzle, operationalizing concepts, reflecting on methods used, weighing different theoretical approaches);
    • conducting research (e.g., struggling with interviews, problems of access, coding issues, finding a suitable analytical method for existent data);
    • findings and results (e.g., dealing with unexpected observations, questions of structure, polishing an argumentative storyline)

Please submit your application to by 31 August 2021.  In case of any questions regarding the workshop, do not hesitate to contact us.

(Stand: 16.03.2023)  |