Research Focus "Digital Future"

The interdisciplinary research focus "Digital Future" examines the causes and mechanisms of the anticipated changes in work and private life, which are expected by the technological development around the topic complex "4.0" (e.g. advanced manufacturing, digitalization). The specific doctoral project, assigned to the working group Cognitronics and Sensor Systems, addresses the aspects of data security and privacy with regard to distributed wireless sensor systems.

Within the research focus "Digital Future", scientists from the Universities of Paderborn and Bielefeld are working together interdisciplinary. The research examines the imminent change in the digital future and possibilities of influence. The cooperating disciplines are psychology, sociology, pedagogy, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, economics and computer science. The doctoral projects are not isolated from one another, but capture holistically and systematically the possibilities and necessities for the success of the digital future. The focus in the distinct research fields are the net effects on employment due to digitalization (crowdworking or crowdsourcing) as well as data security and privacy issues.

In this process, the focus of research within the working group Cognitronics and Sensor Systems lies in the development of trustworthy microelectronic technologies. In the context of digitized work processes, the points of data security and privacy of personal data have emerged. The hoped-for advantages of using miniaturized and intelligent sensors for process optimization, workplace safety and work related health almost always offer sufficient potential for the monitoring and control of employees. Employers also see the threat of losing data sovereignty as a risk in the context of the progressive real time communication via the Internet of Things and upcoming cross-organizational services.

The doctoral project questions possibilities and risks associated with the all-encompassing digitalization and the expansion of networking technologies. This applies in particular to the analysis of indirectly collected personal data. It is also intended to address the possibilities of protection against the demarcation between professional and private life, which is threatened by the combination of digital traces from both areas of life.

Project Partners

  • Universität Bielefeld CoR-Lab (Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics)
  • Universität Paderborn PACE (Paderborn Center for Advanced Studies)

Project Website


This research is funded by Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Dipl.-Ing. Marc Hesse