27 May 2019

€ 1.6 million for research in four new focus areas

Vlag Universiteit Utrecht

Utrecht University has appointed four so-called focus areas in which € 1.6 million in total will be invested for the period of September 2019 up to and including August 2023. Every area meets the criteria of interdisciplinarity, scientific quality and societal relevance, among other things. The proposals also show how contributions are made to innovating forms of collaboration within Utrecht University.

Research leader Professor Dr Manon Kluijtmans

For instance, Higher Education Research receives the investment for the purpose of setting up a strong research foundation within the innovative education reputation of UU, in order to scientifically research and substantiate policies, pilots and innovations. “Education strongly depends on contexts. So besides general research, it's also important to develop field-specific knowledge. Utrecht University has a very good reputation when it comes to quality of education and innovation. What's less known is that very good research into higher education is also carried out,” research leader Professor Dr Manon Kluijtmans explains. With this acknowledgement, the field of research receives a boost in terms of both cohesion and volume. Professor Dr Susan te Pas and Professor Dr Sanne Akkerman are the other two research leaders in this field.

portret Jose van Dijck
Research leader Professor Dr José van Dijck

Governing the Digital Society

The advent of Big Data and digital platforms make for new economic possibilities and social opportunities, but also carry risks in terms of privacy, a level playing field, democratic control, autonomy and safety. Data-driven practices offer opportunities for private and especially public sectors; that requires us to expressly look at how we control this digital society fairly and transparently, to guard civil rights and to make sure that public values are well anchored. In this research field, we primarily look at how an open society can profit from the digital developments by stimulating effective institutional innovations and how it can avert potential threats.

Research leaders: prof. dr. José van Dijck, prof. dr. Albert Meijer, prof. mr. dr. Anna Gerbrandy and dr. Mirko Schaefer.

Jan Broersen, portretfoto
Research leader Professor Dr Ir Jan Broersen

Human-centered Artificial Intelligence 

Since its inception, artificial intelligence has had human intelligence as a central object of study. Artificial Intelligence (AI) studies and develops technologies, models and algorithms with which computers can carry out tasks that previously required human intelligence. The recent developments in this field of science result in new human and society-related questions becoming topical. The new focus area ‘HAI’ will focus on technological innovations in the field of programming intelligence, but also on the social, ethical and human aspects of AI. With that, the focus area provides guidance to the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the field of artificial intelligence in Utrecht.

Research leaders: prof. dr. ir. Jan Broersen and prof. dr. Mehdi Dastani.

Dr. Christoph Baumgartner
Research leader Dr Christoph Baumgartner

Migration and Societal Change

This field facilitates and stimulates boundary-crossing interdisciplinary research into one of the most urgent challenges of the modern-day world: global migration and the social and cultural changes that come with it. The opportunities and possibilities of migration are investigated as well, such as in the field of cultural innovation, knowledge production and economic welfare.
The research primarily focuses on migration in the context of Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries. But this situation is placed in a broader, historical context, such as investigating colonial and post-colonial circumstances and their influence on modern-day developments. On top of that, the European situation is approached from a transnational perspective that understands Europe to be connected to and co-determined by the other parts of the world.

Research leaders  dr. Christoph Baumgartner, dr. Ilse van Liempt, prof. dr. Barbara Oomen and prof. dr. Maykel Verkuijten.