In 2014, the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia started to fund the PhD programme “Online Participation” (graduate school). In this project we are cooperating with an interdisciplinary team of professors from the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and the University of Applied Sciences NRW, to analyze how and under what conditions the potential of online participation can be systematically developed, practically applied and scientifically evaluated at the local level. Thus, the PhD programme is dedicated to the analysis of a significant social challenge, i.e., the comprehensive participation of those affected by decisions. The Internet offers the opportunity to realize such participation through online participation processes. Despite their considerable potential, this form of participation has only been used in practice occasionally or does not achieve the expected results.
Since October 2014, a first group of PhD students has contributed to develop a better understanding of the characteristics of online participation and targeted strategies to tap their potential. In January 2019, a second group of PhD students started their research projects in order to continue this work. The PhD programme will thus develop a comprehensive scientific foundation for online participation, which will be implemented and reviewed in practice. The PhD programme focuses on municipalities. However our research covers both public and private organizations from a comparative perspective.
The work of the PhD students is supervised by an interdisciplinary team of professors from different disciplines such as law, computer sciences, communication, political and social sciences as well as business administration at the Heinrich-Heine University and from the research group "political participation" at the University of Applied Sciences NRW. In addition, numerous practice partners such as the “Kommunale Gemeinschaftsstelle für Verwaltungsmanagement” (KGSt), the City of Cologne and Liquid Democracy e. V. participate in the project.
Professor Süß supervises one PhD student (Phillip Nguyen) at the chair of business administration in particular Organization Studies and Human Resource Management.
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