With an initiative worth DKK 100 million over ten years, VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN aim to strengthen the democratic development of the future data-driven Denmark.
The winning research consortium
January 7, 2021, it was revealed that a research consortium with researchers from 6 universities will run the research project Algorithms, Data and Democracy.
Digitalisation, rapidly growing amounts of data, artificial intelligence (AI), data-driven automation and decision-making – these are some of the issues which will lead to profound changes throughout much of Danish society over the coming years.
With a total grant of DKK 100 million over ten years, VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN wish to advance citizen-centred, sustainable democratic development in the data-driven Denmark of the future. To that end, the two foundations are launching a call for a project bringing together research, policy, outreach and stakeholder engagement to address the impacts, opportunities and challenges of digitalisation in relation to democracy.
The scope of the initiative is the democratic challenge inherent in decision making being automated by means of data and algorithms that are incomprehensible to most people. Such decisions impact both the individual and society as a whole.
The vision of the initiative is for Denmark, by the next decade, to be at the international forefront of enlightened digital citizenship and the safeguarding of democratic values and legitimacy in a world of algorithms and data.
The object of the initiative is to create and bring together solutions – societal, institutional, organisational, and, not least, technical solutions – to address challenges and develop potentials serving the best interests of democracy and all sections of society.
The project's focus must be the use of data and algorithms in the most important democratic institutions of Danish society. Key areas include the roles of traditional and new media, policy development and the interaction between the public sector and the citizens.
The project's research component must be a close, interdisciplinary collaboration between top researchers within computer science (broadly defined) and within the humanities/social sciences. Following an open call and a recommendation from an international jury, the research part of the project has been won by a research consortium headed by Professor Sine Nørholm Just from the Department of Communication and Arts at Roskilde University.
The project's outreach component will bring together the research component with a broad-based outreach initiative designed to involve citizens, decision-makers, civil society organisations, IT professionals and other stakeholders. DKK 20 million has been earmarked for the outreach component, which is run by Lisbeth Knudsen and David Budtz Pedersen.