Projects

Ongoing Lead Project

The lead project of the research focus "Economy and Civil Society" addresses profound transformation processes in knowledge and innovation societies, which in turn are characterised by disruptive events. The lead project "Post-Office" aims to understand the dynamics of change in knowledge-generating cooperation with its disruptive elements and to discuss resulting consequences for urban and rural regions. more

Ongoing Third-party Funded Projects

Arguably unlike any other pandemic before, COVID-19 has been monitored and mapped in detail, enabling fine-grained analysis. So far, the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic followed a non-linear trajectory known from previous pandemics with a wave pattern implying phases of acceleration and deceleration. This research project starts from the premise, that there is unused potential in using tempo-spatial data to understand pandemic outbreaks. It aims to analyze the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany through a process perspective to detect spatio-temporal patterns of diffusion. more

Digital (planning) tools are changing the way we communicate. While urban areas seem to process these changes without tension, tensions between digitalised forms of action and more traditional, analogue forms are assumed for peripheralised rural areas. These are the focus of the project. Using rural areas in China and Chile as examples, the project will examine from different perspectives of action and actors (1) which digitisation strategies have been pursued and which digitisation processes have taken place, (2) which changes can be observed in the actions of actors against the backdrop of the available digital technologies and applications, and (3) to what extent spatial constructions of rural spaces in the respective cultural contexts are changing as a result. more

Everyday life in rural areas is based in a special way on volunteer work, with digital technologies increasingly being used. However, campaigning and funding practice for the digitalization of volunteering in rural areas precedes an inventory of the same: systematic findings on the use of digital tools and practices in volunteering in Germany are so far only rudimentary. Within the project, a differentiated picture of the use and handling of digital technologies in voluntary work in German rural areas, will be elaborated according to spatial types, organizational profiles and age structure of involved volunteers. A well-founded assessment of the opportunities and risks of technology use of technology in rural voluntary work is to be made. more

CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS, such as coworking spaces, fablabs, creative hubs etc.) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development. Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations in the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. The CORAL project will offer specialised and tailor-made training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR: PhD candidates), helping them to better understand and support the development processes of CWSin rural and peripheral areas and their wider impacts at the local and regional level as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise. more

The Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS), is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the DAAD program “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed" and based at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). GCSMUS seeks to introduce the use of social science research methodologies for the advancement of urban sustainable development, by connecting social sciences methodology, via knowledge transfer, exchange and implementation, with urban policy-making, planning and design. more

In the past twenty years, the number of students completing university studies in a foreign country has constantly been on the rise. In addition, many universities are investing in international branch campuses (IBCs) abroad. These are initial indices for a parallel globalisation of knowledge-intensive branches of the economy and of the university landscape. The Leibniz Junior Research Group “Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education” (TRANSEDU) is concerned with the relationship between globalised economic processes and the internationalisation of the academic and research landscapes. more

The IRS is a participant in the “Innovation Hub13 – fast track to transfer”, a project funded as part of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research's (BMBF's) “Innovative Hochschule” initiative, and obtained by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt developed the sub-project “Open Region: Regional Challenges as Starting Points for Innovation”, which resides at the intersection of innovation promotion and regional development. The aim of the project is to create the conditions for the integration of until now unconsidered innovation actors, in order to develop cooperative solutions for regionally relevant problem areas in Brandenburg. more

Ongoing Qualification Projects

Rural areas are regularly associated with negative images of problems such as demographic change, loss of infrastructure, or lack of broadband connections. This culminates in attributions such as “dying villages”, “bleeding out”, or “empty landscapes”, especially with regard to structurally weak regions in the eastern German states. For some years, however, a new tone seems to have entered the debate, which rapidly intensified in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic: now urban flight appears as a new trend. The habilitation project is dedicated to the changes in the social constructions of the rural as well as their significance for spatial planning and development by analysing the discursive construction of rural areas and their changes since the 1960s in Germany. more

The dissertation project addresses the question to what extent the constitution of creative everyday spaces is changed by a combination of on/offline spaces. How do working practices change? To what extent are interactions and spaces expanded or changed and what new (digital) hurdles arise? Using fashion design as an example, the online platform Instagram is identified as an influential actor in the socio-technical everyday fabric of fashion designers and the role of the platform in shaping practices and spaces is critically assessed. more

Digitalisation as a societal megatrend also changes life in rural areas. Village inhabitants push initiatives to address common problems of rural living with digital technology. The aim of this research project is to better understand rural digitalisation processes and their effects on village communities as well as the (further) development of a theoretical framework to this research object. more

The project adopts a cultural economic approach to investigate the discourses that constitute the development of French campuses abroad and the materialization thereof in the space of the campuses, while paying attention to the dissonances and renegotiations involved in the process. Addressed through qualitative expert interviews with decision-makers working in French public and private higher education institutions, the following research question guides the analysis: “How is the development of French branch campuses discursively and materially constructed, branded and experienced?” more

This dissertation project investigates transnational urban education zones (TUEZs) in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. These purpose-built urban areas were created to host offshore campuses of foreign universities. TUEZs like Dubai International Academic City or Education City appear to be part of distinctive urban development strategies while at the same time being connected discursively to transformative economic rationales. The project aims to make sense of the strategic decisions of governments to establish such zones, how they relate to urban imaginaries connected to global city ambitions, and how they are connected to future aspirations towards a knowledge-based economy. more

Universities get access to national higher education markets in South East Asia through investments in offshore branches and international partnerships. How market access is regulated and how transnational networks are coupled with regional contexts is not only subject to temporal change. It is also of utmost economic and socio-cultural relevance to the actors involved. This PhD project examines these issues in the case regions of Malaysia and Singapore. more

Completed Third-party Funded Projects