Select Page

Webinar 6: Urban Data Space as New Frontier: A Responsible Research and Innovation Perspective

The CODATA Connect Early Career and Alumni Network held the sixth in its webinar series on Smart and Resilient Cities on Monday, 21 September 2020.

Title: Urban Data Space as New Frontier: A Responsible Research and Innovation Perspective

Robert Braun, Associate Professor/Senior Researcher, Deputy Head, Techno-Science & Societal Transformation, Affiliation: Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna, Austria (Download Presentation)

A blog related to this webinar is here

The presentation and recordings are available for download and viewing.

Date: 21 September 2020
Time: 3:00 PM CET (6:30 PM IST)
Duration: 45 min session and 15 min Question Answers (Total 1 hour)

Registration Link:

This talk focuses on the emerging phenomena of Urban Data Space (UDS) technology and investigates how UDS may be developed with taking a responsible research and innovation perspective. Data Space is one of the frontiers of innovation in digital technology that aims at creating „a seamless digital area with the scale that will enable the development of new products and services based on data” (EC 2018). The major idea of these is to openly provide large quantities and multiple types of data for governments, industry and other actors in order to innovate: develop new services and products or link existing sectors. Smart City projects intend to manage Big Data in urban environments and face similar challenges of organizational complexities. UDS is suggested to facilitate an eco-system for data exchange and added value creation utilizing the various types of data within a smart city/municipality. Dataspaces/UDS raise not only technical challenges (interoperability, standardization etc.), but are entangled with questions on social and governance aspects relevant for the constitution of modern societies. It is important to note that knowledge and value chain gaps regularly lead to policy procrastination, as lack of shared positions of academia and/or business hinders policy makers to even understand, let alone address the governance challenges of Data Space technology. As Data Space technology is at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3-4, it is essential to address, besides the semantic assessment of Big Data structures, semiotic research in dataspace technology. This would require the assessment of the ’sign relational complex’ or, according to semiotic theory, the pragmatics of data science: ascertaining, assessing and researching the processes by which signs relate to the agents who use them to refer to things in the world and to communicate their intentions about those things to other agents who may have similar or different intentions concerning the same or different things. This also brings about ethical and responsibility concerns: Does UDS lead to an integration of stakeholders? Does it offer a new sphere for stakeholders’ creativity, participation and new formats, modes for engaging those in the urban public sphere who previously were not involved? Or might UDS, as we have seen in other social spheres affected by the current Corona crisis, highlight and enlarge existing partitions in society? An RRI-inspired UDS approach would mean trying to make UDS more inclusive, decision-makers and other key stakeholders’ attitude to their work more reflective and suggest political and policy implementation processes in UDS that are more responsive to societal needs and ethical concerns. This talk will focus on using the RRI-heuristic provided by Owen et al. to identify some challenges and to reflect on the responsibilities of various actors involved in UDS R&I. We will also point to a new tool: the “societal readiness thinking tool” developed in the NewHoRRIzon project as a potentially important way to address the looming questions of responsible innovation related to UDS.

Name of the Speaker: Robert Braun
Designation: Associate Professor/Senior Researcher, Deputy Head, Techno-Science & Societal Transformation
Affiliation: Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna, Austria

Robert studied philosophy of arts and history at the University of Budapest, in 2002 he did his PhD in philosophy. 1991-94 he was assistant professor at ELTE University of Budapest. From 1994-2019 he was Associate Professor at Corvinus University in Budapest. From 2015-2018 he was Professor at Lauder Business School in Vienna. He was Pro-Rector of International Business School in Budapest 2014-2015. He is currently  senior researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna and Associate Professor at Masaryk University in Brno. He did research at Rutgers University in the US, at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Wassenaar, Netherlands, and taught at numerous universities in the EU and the US. His research projects involve the representation and engagement of stakeholders in corporate communities as well as the societal impacts of (autonomous) mobility. His core research interest is in the politics of societal transformation. His past research includes the politics of historiography [creation of power/knowledge and meaning in relation to the past]; the politics of corporations [creation of power/knowledge through social exchange/business]; and, currently, the politics of autonomous mobility [creation of power/knowledge through technology]. His last book was “Corporate Stakeholder Democracy,” published by CEU Press in 2019; his new and forthcoming book (written with Richard Randell) is on “Dromobility: Towards post-automobility” with Rowman & Littlefield International. 

Some of Robert’s recent papers: