Digital Innovation School starts at the Complexity Science Hub

Bild: Florian Schrötter/Bundeskanzleramt
Bild: Florian Schrötter/Bundeskanzleramt

With the Digital Innovation School (DIS), a globally unique interdisciplinary training opportunity is being created at the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) in Vienna. The CSH Digital Innovation School is being organised by the Medical University of Vienna as one of the supporting universities, which is a central founding partner of the CSH and has also made a significant contribution to establishing complexity research in Austria. The doctoral programme will start in autumn with the first students. This supports the strategic goal of the federal government’s digital skills offensive to increase the number of top IT professionals in Austria. The project was presented at a press conference with representatives from the government and the CSH at MedUni Vienna.

The doctoral programme aims to meet the growing demand for specialists who are able to find solutions to current and future challenges facing society and the planet - from climate change and supply insecurity to the spread of disinformation on the internet. "To do this, we need to be able to use the best of the next generation to generate usable and actionable meaning from the vast amounts of data that describe our world. With this programme, we at the Complexity Science Hub, together with our members, are creating opportunities to bring digital talent to Austria and build a tradition of digital excellence," said CSH President Stefan Thurner, Professor of Complex Systems Science at MedUni Vienna since 2009, at the press conference.

At least five outstanding students per year

The doctoral programme will accept at least five outstanding students each year. These students do not have to commit themselves to a scientific niche. Rather, the programme integrates a range of topics and disciplines such as Data, Network & Complexity Science, so that ideas and tools from one area can be quickly applied to others. In addition, students will be able to gain important experience in the implementation of research results in policy and practice - through collaborations and internships in public administration and companies. The CSH Digital Innovation School is organised in cooperation with the partner universities of the Complexity Science Hub. It is organised by the Medical University of Vienna as one of the supporting universities, which is a central founding partner of the CSH and has also made a significant contribution to establishing complexity research in Austria. In addition, DIS students will be able to benefit from the CSH’s close relationships with numerous other institutions in Austria and around the world.

Digital experts of the future

"With the new Digital Innovation School, we are creating a new training opportunity for Austria’s digital experts of the future. With a planned duration of at least ten years and financial support of more than twelve million euros, we are also securing the new doctoral programme for the long term. Furthermore, the research results will not only be made publicly available in interactive dashboards, but working materials for children will also be developed," explained Education, Science and Research Minister Martin Polaschek at the press conference.

"The Digital Innovation School is an important first step towards deepening digital skills. Our long-term goal: We want to train outstanding specialists who not only excel in their field of expertise, but are also ready to take on leadership roles in the digital transformation. We need to inspire young people for a professional future in the IT sector. Because without future specialists, entrepreneurs and scientists in this field, we will not win the race. Digitalisation is the pulse of our time - and our young people will determine how strongly it beats in red-white-red in the future," says State Secretary Claudia Plakolm.

"Our doctoral programme will enable students to use the expertise at the CSH in data, network and complexity research to contribute to solving current challenges in areas such as sustainability, the economy, health, the green transition and society," explains Stefan Thurner, President of the CSH. The first group of doctoral students will start the programme in autumn 2024.

"The Digital Innovation School is located in the top training segment. We want to help catch up in terms of digitalisation in order to better position ourselves for the digital age. That’s why this initiative is so important," says Hannes Androsch, initiator of the programme and Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Complexity Science Hub.