Award for Digitalization Research

sponsored by BE-terna

The Digital Science Center (DiSC) solicits applications for the Award for Digitalization Research (short: DiSC Award) which is issued in cooperation with sponsoring company BE-terna. Early-stage researchers from any scientific discipline at the University of Innsbruck are eligible for the award.

The award is divided into two categories:

► Master‘s theses or Diplom theses, with a prize money amounting to €500.

► Doctoral theses, with a prize money amounting to €1000.

Digitalization refers to the profound transformation of processes through digital tools, methods, and media. It brings about new challenges, but also new opportunities for all aspects of society. The award will be given to theses which contribute to meeting these challenges or benefitting from the opportunities.

Early-stage researchers from any scientific discipline at the University of Innsbruck. The applicant must have been enrolled at the University of Innsbruck.

Final academic theses which received excellent grades and which demonstrate a clear relation to research in the field of digitalization, either with regard to methods or content.

The thesis must have been submitted to the University of Innsbruck. The degree certificate [Bescheid] must have been issued in the past year. In particular, the time span from the date of the certificate to the application deadline must not exceed 12 months (last possible date: 3 April 2023).

To avoid overlaps with the award issued by the FSP Scientific Computing, theses with a clear focus on Scientific Computing topics are excluded. Please also note that theses which have already received an award from the University of Innsbruck will not be given another award. The DiSC Award will be given to one and the same person only once.

Formal criteria

  1. Are the application documents complete?
  2. Does the applicant comply with the formalities, e.g. length of the letter of motivation?

Content-related criteria

  1. Positioning of the thesis within the field of digitalization in terms of content and methods

Digitalization refers to the profound transformation of processes through digital tools, methods, and media.

  • The application documents must show that the thesis falls into at least one of the following two tracks:
    a) The thesis uses methods of digitalization in an innovative way to examine a research question from any scientific discipline.
    b) The thesis analyzes the impact of digitalization on society, for example from a social, business, economic, legal or ethical perspective.
  • Does the thesis differ from the subject matter and goals of the Scientific Computing Award? (“The Research Area Scientific Computing awards a prize for an excellent master’s thesis and a PhD thesis in the field of Scientific Computing with a focus on High Performance Computing, and preferably with a highly interdisciplinary orientation.”)

2. Scientific quality of the work
Example questions:

  • Does the thesis meet the standards of sound scientific practice applicable to the discipline?
  • Is the thesis both structurally and methodically flawless (clear structure, convincing line of argument, well-thought-out research design)?
  • Are the theoretical and methodological foundations of the thesis well established and argued with reference to the relevant literature? Does the thesis acknowledge relevant criticism and potential alternatives and addresses them appropriately?

3. Transformative potential of the thesis (relevant primarily for doctoral theses)
Example questions:

  • Does the thesis provide novel scientific knowledge?
  • Does it contribute significantly to the discipline’s state of the art or does it support the advancement of science or society at large? Can any new insights be used for profit?
  • Does the thesis allow for new conclusions to be drawn or for previous findings to be examined from a new perspective and can the resulting insights be leveraged to take advantage of the opportunities provided by digitalization and/or to meet its challenges?
  • Are new methods developed or are existing methods used innovatively or creatively? (Digitalization is a transformative process brought about by introducing digital methods. As a counterexample, developing or using methods of Computer Science to address Computer Science problems would not be covered by this definition.)

Applicants must be nominated by their main supervisor. Each main supervisor may nominate at most one thesis per category. Applicants should justify on no more than one DINA4 page in what way their thesis is relevant to the call and fulfills the abovementioned criteria.

Application documents may be submitted in German or English.

The application deadline is 3 April 2024.

Application documents

Please send the following documents by e-mail in pdf format:

  • Application form, including the nomination by the main supervisor
  • Thesis in digital format
  • Short summary of the thesis (abstract), unless already part of the thesis
  • Letter of motivation justifying the relevance of the thesis to the call (Please answer the following questions: Why does the thesis deserve the award? How does it fit with the goals of the award in terms of subject matter or methods used and in how far does it cover track 1a) or 1b)? In what ways does it fulfill the criteria?) (max. 1 DINA4 page)
  • Degree certificate and notice of award
  • Reviews [Gutachten]:
    - Master’s/Diplom thesis: 1 review in the form of a letter of recommendation by the supervisor
    - Doctoral thesis: all examiners’ reviews

The next call will be open from mid-February 2024.

Enquiries & advice

In cooperation with

Digital Science Centre (DiSC)

Carina König, M.A. M.Sc.

+43 512 507 39751

Innrain 15
A-6020 Innsbruck

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Further information
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