The development of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
For a couple of years the investigation of the Internet has been promoted and supported by several institutions. However, just a limited number of (academic) institutions do exist in Germany, which are selectively focusing on this topic in order to enrich the international debate from a European and first of all, from a German perspective. With the initial funding of 4,5 million € by Google, according to the former CEO Eric Schmidt, the development and the founding of an independent research institute for Internet and Society in Berlin will be supported. Hereby, the institute is meant to research and attend the development of the Internet in its interplay with societal transformation processes critically. To establish a suiting framework a founding team was needed, which would illuminate the technological and judicial as well as the sociological, economical and artistic perspectives.
The three founding associates, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU), the University of Arts Berlin (UdK) and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), in alliance with the Hans-Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg as an integrated co-operation partner, secure these multilayer perspectives. This becomes especially apparent with regards to the four founding directors: Dr. Jeanette Hofmann (WZB) and her research profile on Policy & Governance, Prof. Ingolf Pernice (HU), who has developed projects concerning the Internet and Constitutionalism, Prof. Thomas Schildhauer (UdK) with research topics concerning Internet-enabled Innovations and Economy, as well as Prof. Wolfgang Schulz (HBI) investigating the area of operations focusing on Internet and Media Regulation.
In summer 2011 the four participating universities declared their aim to found the »Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society”. In autumn 2011 the celebration of the inauguration of the »1st BERLIN SYMPOSIUM ON INTERNET AND SOCIETY», the Institutes’ first scholarly event, took place. In march 2012 the institute was founded as a nonprofit organization. The institute is located at Bebelplatz in the north wing of the faculty of law of the Humboldt University in Berlin.