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Postdoc-Kolleg: Algorithmed Public Spheres

In 2016, the Hans-Bredow-Institut established a new form of promoting young researchers: the "Postdoc-Kolleg". The Kolleg combines (temporary) positions, which are financed by the Institute, and scholarships along with third-party-funded projects of different duration. With its theme-based focus, it extends the promotion of young researchers that continues to take place in all areas of the Institute. In addition to the research programmes, the Kolleg aims to promote innovation and provide an impetus for future projects.

For the first phase, the Institute agreed on the topic “Algorithmed Public Spheres” (APS), which is new and innovative, but, at the same time, matches the existing areas of expertise and research programmes of the Institute: algorithms act where information are processed in a digital way, hence everywhere in the age of smartphone and tablet. But what are algorithms, who develops them and how do they affect our communication and understanding of the public sphere? The focus lies on the increasing importance of algorithms for the prioritisation, classification, association and filtering of media content and digital communication, e.g.  in search engines (Google), recommendation systems (Amazon) and when selecting news and posts (Facebook, Twitter). In this Kolleg, international researchers coming from different disciplines work together on implications for communication and the public sphere that are connected to algorithmic data processing on digital platforms.

The Postdoc-Kolleg is coordinated by Dr. Cornelius Puschmann. The Kolleg welcomed its first two fellows in December 2016: Nick Diakopoulos, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, and Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda, GESIS. Two public events and an internal workshop were organised with Nick Diakopoulos during his stay.

A second phase of promoting young researchers has already started. Since the beginning of 2017, Atilla-Filipe Cevik supports the Kolleg as a junior fellow with a project on news consumption on online platforms. In his research, he focuses on "information milieus" and the nexus between online news consumption, political opinions and the social-demographic background of users.

Fellows at the Kolleg since December 2016:

Ass. Prof. Nick Diakopoulos, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland
Dr. Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda, GESIS
Atilla-Filipe Cevik
Dr. Judith Müller, Amsterdam School of Communication Research

2017/2018 we expect:
Juhi Kulshrestha, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems
Dr. Mariëlle Wijermars, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
Jing Zeng, Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology

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