Just in case you haven’t noticed – Science Year 2014 is all about “The Digital Society,” with all featured events focusing on digital technologies in dialogue with science and society. As an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD), the Science Year series aims to promote dialogue and exchange between the general public and the wider research community. Originally founded in 2002, the initiative is characterized by several activities throughout the year, such as exhibitions, competitions and various dialogue formats. All events of Science Year 2014 have one intention: to increase interest in science and to initiate digital innovation in science and research.
Each year, the focus is set on a particular science discipline. This year the key theme has been announced as “Science Year 2014 – The Digital Society.” Smartphones, social media, cloud computing – digital technologies play an important role in our everyday lives, transforming the ways we communicate with each other, aquire information and work together. The impact of the digital revolution is ambivalent: on the one hand the latest IT gadgets harbour a lot of potential and provide us with a whole range of new options. On the other hand, digital technologies pose a challenge to our daily grind, therefore generating a lot of fears and questions.
Under the key theme of “Science Year 2014 – The Digital Society”, various events will explore the generic relationship between the ‘digital revolution’ and society. Hereby the main focus is set on how the digitalization affects and transforms us as individuals as well as our society as a whole. All events featured in the Science Year 2014 program – such as all panel discussions, lecture series, contests and online events – address changes and challenges, focusing on the following key areas:
In particular with the increasing digitalization of our ordinary lives, our communication culture has undergone fundamental change. This strand of Science Year 2014 investigates topics that range from the impact of communicating online and social media to data security and privacy in a digital world. Further discussions will focus on digital developments and their influence on our daily lives in the future, for instance with “Sharing, the shopping of the future?” being one point of discussion.
Virtual office, skype-conference, cloud computing – the digital revolution has also affected our economic system. The ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ world co-exist side-by-side, with internet, e-processes and webbased applications being an integrated part of all our corporate lives. Science Year 2014 takes a closer look on how working conditions are changing in a digital world and what are the latest tools – such as a digital lab notebook – that will further accelerate tomorrow’s digital working world.
From an early age onwards, children get in touch with digital technologies such as laptops and smartboards. In this stream, Science Year 2014 explores topics such as the future of learning, how the web shapes our intelligence and alters our learning behaviour. Another focus is set on ‘science for the masses’, addressing the future of scientific research and dealing with digital data.
With science and research being the driving forces of digital and technical innovation, Science Year 2014 not only hosts events to engage the general public, but also engages the wider research community. For scientists, the Science Year 2014 initiative offers the Forschungsbörse, a contact platform that links local initiatives and schools with ‘professional researchers,’ willing to talk about their research expertise first-hand to generate interest of potential ’future scientists.’ In addition, scientific professionals get the chance to try the latest IT gadgets for research purposes as well as novel formats for lectures.
All in all Science Year 2014 provides a unique opportunity for participants to showcase digital innovation and to boost new, innovative forms of collaboration in research, higher education and innovation. For more information and event details, check the Science Year 2014 website.
Author: Anya Weimann