Learning Knowledge

Learning, knowledge, innovation: The change in knowledge production, organisation and transfer through digital innovation

“Knowledge is always preceded by intuition.”

If we follow Humboldt’s principle, we see that knowledge itself – its derivation, organisation and communication – is in a state of fundamental transformation. The trend towards interconnected research, the ongoing expansion of information infrastructures and digital innovation in teaching and learning illustrate this state of transformation. At the same time, the currently ongoing digitalisation calls for new ways of communicating information and transferring knowledge. It also begs the question whether artificial intelligence and human creativity can complement each other and what role AI will play in societal decision making as well as in the search for consensus.

Research programme III – Learning, knowledge, innovation: Changes in knowledge production, organisation and transfer through digital innovation

How does the digital society define knowledge production, organisation and transfer? The research programme learning, knowledge, innovation aims at not only understanding but also shaping this process. We combine approaches from economic sociology, educational science and innovation economics to discover findings with an interdisciplinary scope. In addition to our scientific publications, we develop know-how, science transfer formats and training for non-academics.

The programme learning, knowledge, innovation ties together research on the changing dynamics in knowledge production, organisation and transfer within three thematic priorities:

Knowledge transfer and impact
How do research results reach relevant stakeholders in politics, business and media and civil society? How should science be organised to meet its societal responsibilities in the age of digitalisation?

Innovation in education and teaching
In what way does digital innovation impact education in schools, businesses and the tertiary sector? How can the research community analyse and support profound structural changes in education?

AI and decision making
What role can  artificial intelligence play in political and economic decision making processes?

Current projects

On the basis of our research, we create our own science transfer as well as training formats. The setting up of the blog Elephant in the Lab has established a platform that discusses new forms of impact. In addition, the Impact School, a teaching concept for doctoral and post-doc researchers has been developed in cooperation with Leibniz Research Alliance Science 2.0. In cooperation with FZI Research Center for Information Technology, the research project DREAM started in 2018. The focus of the project lies on the development of a prototype as a web platform and as an app where researchers can promote and make their research results available for free.

Furthermore, in cooperation with Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the goal is to produce empirical and international case studies that show the impact of integrating digital teaching and learning innovations in universities and learning success. In the next year, we are planning to enrich our research activities within the thematic priority ‘AI and decision making’.


Research team
Conference contribution and other activities
Research team




Conference contribution and other activities


Expertenworkshop: Automatisierte Zensur? Technische Lösungen zur Regulation politischer Online-Kommunikation Universität Münster, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie. Universität Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria: 26.04.2018

Kirsten Gollatz