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Aurora Research and Innovation Programme

During the Aurora Autumn Biannual in Tarragona between November 16-18, the Aurora Research and Innovation project activities kicked off.

The Aurora RI project builds excellent research support structures to complement excellent research and innovation for Aurora universities. It will further deepen and expand the cooperation among the universities and strengthen their identity as research-intensive universities dedicated to societal impact and engagement. Aurora RI aims to develop a research and innovation support agenda framed by the SDGs and based on the four priority domains:

  1. Sustainability and Climate Change
  2. Digital Society and Global Citizenship
  3. Health and Well-being
  4. Culture: Diversity and Identity

The overall objective of this project is to strengthen and streamline research and innovation support to enhance academic excellence and the innovation environment in Aurora universities. This will complement the Aurora Learning for Societal Impact strategy with a long-term Aurora strategy towards research and innovation (R&I) for Societal Impact, aiming to support the achievement of the SDGs.

The project focuses on strengthening and empowering research support by sharing research infrastructure, strengthening and harmonizing Open Science policies in line with EU frameworks, cooperating with other actors, and empowering cooperating staff and students.

The actions implemented during the project period aim at creating a platform for cooperation that will sustain beyond the lifetime of the project and equip researchers and students at Aurora Universities with a broad toolkit to conduct excellent research and disruptive innovation.

Tarragona Biannual 2021 – Students Should Take Part in Internationalization Experience

Aurora network universities agree that most students should take part in an internationalization experience. Aurora’s biannual meeting, which was attended by more than 120 representatives from eleven European universities, debated which skills and competences university students should have and how universities should foster internationalization.

At present, about 15% of university students take part in a four-month stay at a foreign university as part of the Erasmus program. Now, however, the challenge for the universities that are members of the Aurora consortium is to ensure that, in one way or another, most university students have some sort of major internationalization experience. Prior to the biannual meeting of the Aurora network, the students themselves defined what these international mobility visits should be like and the problems they needed to cope with. For example, one of the agreements was to provide psychological services for displaced students. Connecting with the local community was also regarded as fundamental to greater and better integration, and efforts will be made to guarantee that whoever wishes to do so can travel with their families.

The meeting also defined what future students should be like and what skills and competences they should have. For example, 21st-century students should be creative, be able to innovate, have communication and leadership skills and be able to work as part of a team. These values ​​are already being promoted “but not with the necessary level of awareness”, explains the URV’s Vice-Rector for Internationalization, John Style. Work will now begin, then, so that these competences can be assessed in graduates and the assessment criteria be standardized throughout the universities in the consortium. Students must also be able to work in groups and in multicultural environments, to think critically and, above all, to have a good command of English.

One of the main objectives of the biannual was to sign an agreement between the eleven participating universities to encourage and guarantee mobility. It is a single multilateral agreement that will allow the multi-campus to be set up effectively.

More than 20 Aurora students representing the eleven universities met for three days before the biannual to participate in the Design Thinking Jam. The goal was to design what a major internationalization experience should be like and how obstacles can be prevented.

During the biannual, discussions were held on how all members of the consortium could share initiatives on internationalization. One of the options is for students to work in online groups with other universities without leaving Tarragona as an online internationalization experience.

During the closing day of the biannual, the participants discussed the need to transform the university from a place where people graduate and leave, to a place with which they maintain a lifelong learning bond. That is to say, it becomes an institution that not only gives a degree but also guarantees lifelong learning, where students can take courses with a few credits, accumulate them and be awarded a professional certificate.

During the presentation of the meeting’s conclusions on Monday, the rector of the URV expressed her satisfaction that the biannual had been organized in Tarragona: “We have put the city on the map of Europe,” she pointed out.

The consortium gives rise to the Aurora Research and Innovation

Just after the biannual, there was a meeting of the partners of the Aurora Research and Innovation programme, involving nine of the eleven universities in the consortium. It is a European project focused on sharing good practices, resources and scientific infrastructure among the members. The aim, according to the Vice-Rector for Research and Scientific Planning, Francesc Díaz, is to encourage cooperation in entrepreneurial activity, empower human capital, “democratize open science and put research in touch with the public.”

Aurora is looking for dynamic students

Aurora is a cooperation between 11 universities across Europe that aims to increase quality and innovation in higher education in response to rapid societal change and strengthen the search for solutions to the biggest challenges facing humanity. To this end, Aurora Universities will create a variety of opportunities for students to gain international experiences as part of their studies and the skills, knowledge and drive to become social entrepreneurs and leaders.

Since the start of the cooperation, the universities have placed great emphasis on the students’ voices influencing all of Aurora´s policies, projects and innovation endeavours. To mobilize students, the Aurora Student Council has established The Aurora Student Champions and Ambassadors Schemes in collaboration with the universities and applications are now open until October 17th.

Alma Ágústsdóttir, president of the Aurora Student Council, says that this is a unique opportunity for students at Aurora Universities. Through their participation, students are directly involved in international cooperation and policy-making, develop skills that are in high demand by employers and have the opportunity to work with students from other universities and participate in Aurora events.

Alma also says that it is a great advantage how much flexibility Aurora offers students who are interested in participating. “Students can choose to participate as an Aurora Student Champion or Aurora Ambassador, depending on the level of commitment they want to take on and what type of projects they want to work on. Students can also suggest projects based on their own interests that help spread the Aurora message“. The aim is to find about 10 students at each university to participate in Aurora as either Student Champions or Ambassadors this academic year. When asked about what´s next, Alma says there are many exciting things going on for students within Aurora. “Yes, there are really exciting times ahead. For example, students are going to Spain in November to participate in a workshop to find solutions to improve student’s experience of higher education and enable more students to take part in their studies abroad. I am also going to promote a new project soon that Aurora students are invited to take part in, which is about presenting the students’ vision for the future in the context of an important conference next year, the Conference on the Future of Europe, organized by the European Union in Strasbourg”.

The Year 2020: Vrije Universiteit, at the heart of society

Managing partner of the Aurora European University Alliance, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has released their Year in review 2020. In their 2020: Year in review and in their 2020 Annual Report, they reflect on some significant and memorable moments. The year 2020 was exceptional for many reasons. Because of the pandemic, they were forced to work and study primarily online, and to transform into a university that operates at a one-and-a-half-meter distance. It also marked the start of their anniversary year, the Kuyper Year.

The Corona Research Fund, the Athena Institute’s COVID-19 platform, Caring Universities and the free COVID -19 search engine from Findest. These are just a few of the many initiatives that the VU community has introduced, along with partners, during the 2020 corona year. In addition, they had to transform their education into a hybrid format, with an online emphasis. Together, they worked hard in difficult circumstances and showed exceptional resilience, adaptability and commitment.

VU Amsterdam turned 140 in the year 2020. With the Opening Academic Year, they kicked off the Kuyper year with the Kuyper Challenge and with many examples of social entrepreneurship. During the Dies Natalis, Her Majesty Queen Máxima also stressed the importance of entrepreneurship and particularly the role of SMEs. In the year review, Mirjam van Praag, President of the Aurora European University Programme and of the VU Executive Board, also emphasized how Aurora is an opportunity for VU students to gain knowledge and skills to foster social entrepreneurship. VU Amsterdam was also named the most sustainable university in the Netherlands in 2020 and they declared their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2020, VU once again demonstrated its position at the heart of society.

Curious about these stories and more inspiring examples from VU in 2020? Read the Year in review ‘VU Amsterdam: at the heart of society 2020’ in English.

Aurora Service Learning Toolbox

Welcome to the Aurora Service Learning Toolbox

At the core of the Aurora is its cardinal goal to equip students with the right knowledge, skills, mindset, and experience to address societal challenges as agents of change. The Service Learning (SL) and Co-creation approach can help bring this core mission of the Aurora alliance to fruition. Service-learning is an academic teaching/learning method that connects meaningful community service with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility. Co-creation is a form of service-learning that entails the collaboration of diverse stakeholders in the co-production of value/knowledge (concepts, solutions, products, services). Together these two approaches foster engagement of academicians and students with societal stakeholders to address societal challenges.

This toolbox provides relevant tools, resources, and inspiration to foster understanding and application of service-learning and co-creation in Aurora universities. We hope these resources will help interested teachers and students to apply service-learning and co-creation in their academic practice. Information on how to use the toolbox is presented below.

How to use the Aurora Service Learning Toolbox

Please choose from the three modules below what you would like to do. The three modules provide pertinent information, tools, and support to foster service-learning and co-creation in Aurora Universities.

The first module provides information, tools and inspiration on service-learning and co-creation.

The second module provides information on available service-learning programs, courses, and practices in Aurora Universities.


The third module helps connect those who seek advice or support on service learning or co-creation to experts and their counsel.

Aurora Spring Biannual 21

On May 20 – 21st, the tenth Aurora Biannual took place, where Aurora presidents, students and staff met to learn from and with each other.

The first day began with an opening plenary focusing on the future of academic collaboration between British and other European universities following Brexit. Ms Adrienn Kiraly, Head of the Cabinet to Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Education, Culture and Youth, touched upon our collaborations with universities and said “Your alliance is already well placed to be a role model for other higher education institutions in Europe and beyond: Your association with three other higher education institutions in Bulgaria, Slovakia and North Macedonia as well as your commitment to developing a capacity development support programme for more than 30 Universities from Central Eastern Europe and neighbouring countries testify for this.” She also highlighted our collaborations with our students by saying: “I am very happy to see that you have put in place the Aurora Student Champions Scheme in order to ensure student representation in each of your activities.”

During the plenary, Paul Boyle (Vice-Chancellor Swansea University and EUA Vice-President) outlined the 7 key points UK universities must address in order to advance in academic collaborations. One of these points is the need for a European wide funding system open to the world. He mentions that universities in the UK feel fortunate to be part of Horizon EU and participate in the vast majority of that scheme. However, there are many other countries from which they could gain value collaborating too. Karine Samuel (Vice President for International Affairs of Université Grenoble Alpes) stressed the importance of international collaboration and how the Aurora collaboration was especially useful in the pandemic by exchanging experiences and best practices with other Aurora universities. Ms Emily Reise from the University of Iceland added a students’ voice and emphasized on the accessibility and mobility of students and sees the advantage of short term mobility experiences for students.

After lively parallel session presentations and dynamic conversations, we entered the virtual reception building where Jón Atli Benediktsson (Aurora Network President and Rector of University of Iceland) welcomed the Minister of Education, Science and Culture of Iceland, Lilja Alfredsdottir. Ms Alfredsdottir believes that the strength of Iceland lies in its international collaborations and that these collaborating networks have ensured that Icelandic research is truly global and ambitious. She says: “No single institution can tackle world challenges on its own but collaboration brings a strength that can be greater than the sum of its parts. With that in mind, the European Commission has focused its recent efforts in higher education on forming strong European University networks capable of producing internationally competent European students, European research, and European solutions”. Jón Atli introduced Ms Anne-May Janssen who will take over from Kees Kouwenaar as Secretary-General of Aurora from July 25th of this year. The reception also welcomed a comedy sketch by comedian Ari Eldjarn. Ari enthused the public with his charismatic interpretations of the many European cultures.

The second day continued with open parallel dissemination sessions and a wrap up of the reports and reflections. President of the Alliance Board Mirjam van Praag shared the accomplishments and challenges of the last 6 months. Among the achievements are the many courses that have been identified to be Aurorarized, a 2-year master program, an international traineeship program, a framework for mobility grant allocation, the 32 students engaged in the Aurora Student Champion Scheme and 15 student ambassadors. Next to accomplishments, Ms van Praag also shared a key concern about the involvement of academics in Aurora and integrating Aurorarized course into existing degree programs. A full overview of the achievements can be found here.

In total, 25 of Aurora’s active working groups and task teams met during the Biannual, and 7 dissemination sessions informed a wider Aurora audience on aspects of the Aurora programme of activities.

In the wrap-up, it was announced that it is the last term of Callum Perry, initiator of the Aurora Student Champions Scheme and that his successor will be elected in the following months. And lastly, Maria José Figueras Salvat, Rector of Universitat Rovira i Virgili, announced that the fall biannual 2021 will physically be organized in Tarragona.

The Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia affirms the commitment to tackling climate emergency

More than one hundred businesses and organizations attend the official presentation in Tarragona of a strategic national initiative which has already been working for some time on the transition to the renewable hydrogen economy and society

The Vice-President of the Catalan Government, Pere Aragonès, stated that the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia “is a paradigm of the transformative projects that the country needs and an opportunity to change the energy consumption model”

Enagás and Repsol takes on the commercial leadership of an initiative coordinated by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili which they hope will make the territory a European leader in the hydrogen industry.

Tarragona, 14 May 2021 – The official presentation of the Hydrogen Valley of Tarragona has taken place in the Tarragona Congress Centre. The event has been attended by the more than 100 companies and organisations that form part of the Hydrogen Valley and has been an opportunity for all those involved to reaffirm their commitment to tackling the climate emergency by promoting a society and economy based on renewable hydrogen. This strategic national initiative has already been working for months to consolidate an ecosystem based on the value chain of hydrogen, an energy vector vital to achieving carbon neutrality whilst increasing business competitiveness and improving individual well-being, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event has been presided over by the Vice-President of the Catalan Government and Minister for the Economy and Revenue, Pere Aragonès, who emphasised the importance of the Hydrogen Valley as “an paradigm of the transformative projects that the country needs and an opportunity to change the energy consumption model”, while the presidents of Repsol and Enagás, Antonio Brufau and Antonio Llardén respectively, have taken on commercial leadership within the Valley as a challenge and commitment to society.

The agreement by all parties to promote the growth of the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia, with economic development and climate change mitigation as its primary goals, has resulted in the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the principal stakeholders involved in the initiative, represented by Ramon Tremosa, the minister for Business and Knowledge of the Catalan Government; María José Figueras, rector of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili; Noemí Llauradó, president of Tarragona Provincial Council; Josep Maria Cruset, president of the Tarragona Port Authority; Montserrat Ballarín, vice-president of the Social and Economic Development of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, and Rubén Folgado, president of the Chemical Business Association of Tarragona (AEQT), in addition to the aforementioned of Repsol and Enagás, Antonio Brufau and Antonio Llardén.

The event began with a welcome speech by the Mayor of Tarragona, Pau Ricomà, in which he expressed his support for the initiative and stressed “the city’s commitment to the project and to the implementation of renewable hydrogen”. This was followed by María José Figueras, rector of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, the institution coordinating and promoting the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia, who expressed her thanks for the support of all stakeholders and stated that “the knowledge agents and administrations and companies that participate in this initiative seek to consolidate all of their assets and potentialities in order to make the Valley a leader in the transition to a society and economy based on renewable hydrogen, through knowledge, research, production, distribution and use”. In this context, the rector has highlighted that the role played by the URV involves “leading and promoting training, socialization and research into the new value chains of renewable hydrogen”.

Ramon Tremosa has expressed the “total support” of the Catalan Government for the Valley, “a competitive and transformative strategic project with a clear impact on the territory that will contribute to the need for energy transition” and he asked the Spanish Government for “real joint governance in the management of the Next Generation initiatives. We have to play a key role if we want to maximize the resources that Europe makes available to us”, he stated.

Noemí Llauradó, for her part, has stated that the institution that she presides over is committed to making the Tarragona region “lead the implementation of this energy model throughout Catalonia and become a driver of development and a European reference point in this ambit”. According to Llauradó, “the energy transition is a question that can be dealt with particularly well at the local level and in concert and dialogue with fellow stakeholders”. For his part, Josep Maria Cruset has expressed the support of the Port of Tarragona for a project that “brings together the protection of the environment and the sustainable economic development of society”. “It is for this reason that we are making all of the Port’s assets and potentially available for the project”, he concluded.

Montserrat Ballarín has demonstrated the commitment of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area “to the challenges of climate change and sustainability” and has highlighted the BMA’s work both in support of clean energies and in the drastic reduction of emissions from private transport, thus “working towards the carbon neutrality of our territory”. The president of the BMA and the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, was not able to be present in Tarragona but appeared in the opening presentation video of the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia, alongside the other stakeholders. Colau referred to the commitment by Barcelona Metropolitan Transport to incorporate renewable hydrogen as a fuel and thus implement the first public hydrogen station in Spain.

Enagás and Repsol are the two companies that have positioned themselves at the forefront of the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia. The president of Repsol, Antonio Brufau, stated his company will be one of the main actors in the process of transforming the petrochemical hub of Tarragona, “thus helping it to become an industrial leader in Europe”.“All of us who make up the Valley want to tackle the challenge of the energy transition in a way that is engaged with society and we will do so through innovation and technology”, he added. For his part, Antonio Llardén stated that Enagás will contribute its experience in promoting renewable hydrogen projects that are “sustainable in the long term, with innovative technologies that promote a competitive industry and generate wealth and employment”. According to Llardén, “industry is crucial to driving the reconstruction of a strong economy and society”.

Rubén Folgado, president of the Tarragona Port Authority, stated that the chemical industry has a responsibility to play an active part in the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia.“We are taking on a key role in the energy transition, in this process that can no longer be put off, not only because of our obligation to comply with the emissions restrictions that the European Union has established for the 2030 and 2050 horizons, but also because the survival of our activities is at stake and, above all, because of a sense of conviction. We individuals who make up the chemical industry are the first to insist on our own sustainability and the need to protect the planet.”

In the closing speech, Vice-President Pere Aragonès described the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia as “highly exciting” and that it must be “the first step in reducing carbon emissions”. “This initiative has all of the features that we hope to see in the Catalonia of the future, the Catalonia that we have to start building right now”, asserted Aragonès, who also stated that the Next Generation EU funds are an opportunity that must not be missed. In fact, the Hydrogen Valley is one of the 27 projects for driving the economic recovery that the Catalan Government wants to prioritise in order to access European funds.

The vice-president also explained how the Hydrogen Valley project is much more than an alternative source of clean energy because it “takes advantage of the economic crisis to promote the transformation that country’s manufacturing sector needs”. According to Aragonès, “it is precisely these big, ambitious impact projects that are needed so that the Catalan economy can gain competitiveness, position itself as an international leader, and fight against climate change”.

The event was presented by the journalist Xavier Graset and has also served to formalize the alliance of knowledge, science and technology comprising the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) and the Eurecat Technology Centre, which is the research and innovation core of the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia and which has been working for a long time in the ambit of renewable hydrogen.

Service-Learning Programme: Opportunities and Challenges

At the core of Aurora Alliance is its cardinal goal to equip students with the right knowledge, skills, mindset, and experience to address societal challenges as agents of change. The Service-Learning Programme (SLP) work package (WP 3.1.3) supports bringing this core mission of the Aurora Alliance to fruition. Service-learning (SL) is an academic teaching/learning method that connects meaningful community service with University learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility. It provides an opportunity for both teachers and students to engage with society in a meaningful way that entails knowledge sharing, experiential learning, and problem-solving. The SLP is working to support academics and support staff in the use of SL and fostering its value and application in Aurora universities. It is also involved in linking students with SL courses and equipping them with relevant competences to tackle societal challenges as social entrepreneurs and innovators.

As the first part of our effort to foster SL in Aurora universities, we identify SL courses across different faculties/departments and pilot domains in universities. While most universities already have existing SL or SL-like courses, they are either obscure or not identified as such. We seek to bring visibility to these courses. We are also identifying SL champions – teachers and students who have found value in SL and effective social engagement strategies that have enriched their teaching/learning experience. We aim to amplify their voices and lessons learnt to provide both inspiration and motivation for others.

The SLP is also working towards a Service Learning Toolbox that will provide relevant tools/resources to interested teachers and students to learn about SL. These tools could further strengthen existing SL courses and provide teachers with inspiration on how to transform an existing course into an SL one. It will also have resources for both teachers and students to learn about the essential concepts of SL, participation, reflexivity, and community engagement.

Another important initiative of SLP is the International Learning Lab on the 17th June 2021 [15:30 to 18:00 CEST]. The event is open for students, teachers and experts from the Aurora universities and other national/international guest Universities for a wider discourse on SL and the official launch of the SL toolbox. The event will include talks from international SL experts: Prof. Robert Bringle (Professor Emeritus, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, USA), Prof. Wolfgang Stark (Professor Emeritus, Universität Duisburg Essen, Germany), and Prof. Marjolein Zweekhorst (Professor, Athena Institute, VU Amsterdam). The event will also include presentations of students from Interdisciplinary Service Learning (iCSL2) – an “Aurorised” course open to Master students from any discipline/program across Aurora universities. You are invited to participate in this event (more information here).

The opportunities provided by SL in universities is undeniable. However, there is still not enough recognition of the importance and benefits of SL in universities, which is the main challenge we are currently facing. It is imperative to promote service-learning as a tool for societal engagement to change the mindset of both teachers and students and an essential paradigm of teaching/learning in universities. Let’s join hands in promoting and fostering SL in our universities.

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Aurora awarded mini grants

  • František KRATOCHVÍL – Wordnets for low-resource languages: Creating a roadmap for using NLP technology to aid language documentation, description, and maintenance
  • Jaroslava KUBÁTOVÁ -Sustainable Social Enterprises
  • Lenka DZUROVÁ – Protein engineering in the collaboration with appropriate Aurora Partner Universities
  • Ľudmila LACKOVÁ – Aurorization of the course Complex Analysis of Text and Communication Process
  • Lukáš ZÁMEČNÍK HADWIGER – Theory of Digital Humanities
  • Michal PEPRNÍK – Sharing expertise in English studies: PhD workshops and international conference
  • Miroslav KOPECKÝ – Active ageing – a healthy lifestyle
  • Pavel ZAHRÁDKA – Remix Culture in the Music Industry
  • Pavlína FLAJŠAROVÁ – Aurora-Shared Interdisciplinary Series of Lectures on Cultural Diversity
  • Peter TAVEL – The starting shot
  • Petra VACULÍKOVÁ- Cradle for Excellence in Social Sciences and Humanities (CROSS)
  • Petra VACULÍKOVÁ – Colonialism in 21st Century
  • Silvie VÁLKOVÁ – Bringing Academic Writing courses in English up-to-date
  • Tereza MOTALOVÁ – Galileo for Open Science: Network of Stewards and Navigation Interface for the World of Open Science (“OS Galileo”)

Ordered alphabetically, based on the first name of the PI.

The applicants were asked to specify whether their project dealt with Education, Research, and/or Professionalization, with most proposals concentrating on either Education or research. The applicants were also asked to disclose the partner and associate partners named and included in the proposal. The University of Innsbruck and our associate partners from Kosice proved to be the most frequent collaborators.

The Sustainable Development Goals also hold an important position in all of Aurora’s endeavours. The applicants were asked to pick at least one of the SDGs and demonstrate how their proposal contributes to that goal. SDG 4: Quality Education and SGD 17: Partnership for the Goals were chosen most often, with SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being proving popular as well.

The UP Aurora Office looks back on a promising, successful pilot phase for its Mini-Grant scheme. They are looking forward to further developing the scheme for future calls, and above all, they look forward to seeing these Mini-Grants contribute to the excellent international projects academics will carry out!

Aurora’s International online master-level course “ICT4D in the Field” in 2021

The master-level “ICT4D in the Field” is the first course in the Aurora pilot “Digital Society and Global Citizenship”. Previously, this course has been carried out in a real-world environment. Students were exposed to complex contexts and real-world challenges. They design and implement practical, user-centred and sustainable socio-technological solutions for disadvantaged communities according to a Community Service Learning (CSL) approach. This year the course has been “Aurorized”,, i.e. redesigned as part of the Aurora Alliance educational pilot, into “collaborative online international learning” while maintaining its global and Community Service flavour. The course’s central theme this year will be: “Artificial Intelligence in and for the Global South”

Currently, AI is at the centre of attention as an innovative ICT technology with a wide range of beneficial application opportunities. However, others express doubts and concerns about various developments as undesirable or dangerous. Heavy investments to boost AI and Data Science are taking place in the Global North, particularly in the big power blocks of the US, Europe and China. The course ICT4D in the Field undertakes to investigate these matters in and for the Global South, thereby giving due attention to the specific contexts of people’s needs and the different geographic, economic, cultural and socio-political contexts.

Students will work in groups focused on different geographies (countries/regions) in the South seeking to answer a number of key questions:

  • What is the state-of-play regarding AI applications for the Social Good relevant to people in the Global South? Here, one may think of a reference point of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as combating hunger, ensuring food security, reducing inequalities, etc.
  • What is associated with foreseeable negative or adverse consequences, risks, and social impacts related to the application of AIs, and how may they be mitigated?
  • In consequence, what are the implications to be drawn for the application of AI specifically in the context of the respective Global South countries or regions, in terms of policies, regulation, investment, education, civil/civic debate?

The course will take place in June 2021. It will involve lectures and workshop talks, informed argument writing, reviewing and discussion, collaborative project group work, and presentation. This full-time course is concentrated on four weeks. Master students are invited to apply by sending a motivation letter. However, the course can host a limited number of participants only. A visual preview of the course:

The course targets students doing masters in information sciences, artificial intelligence, computer science, digital humanities, computational social science, but other digital multidisciplinary domains are welcome to apply.

For more information, please contact Dr Anna Bon ( Please access the flyer of this course here

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