Call for Tender: Ethics of Digitization

(The Tender is closed!)

Digital technologies fundamentally shape our lives, but they also shape us as human beings. In particular, AI technologies, used in areas ranging from social media applications to robotics, have enormous effects on our lives. Machine learning systems have the potential to tangibly improve our lives, but they also carry massive risks: risks of increasing social injustice and discrimination or risks of job losses. In addition, there is the much-cited “black box” of the algorithms involved: does anyone really understand AI and how algorithms arrive at their results?

Many people see the potential of AI for business, engineering, science, medicine, and nursing. Others point to the weaknesses of these applications and try to eliminate and minimize ethical hazards. But there is too little discussion of how AI can help us as human beings to be better moral agents; how AI can help us to live more consciously in accordance with our ethical standards. A few research projects are already addressing these questions, such as when AI is used to expose misinformation or disinformation, or when big data and AI help to better understand various positions in armed tribal conflicts. There are, however, myriad potential applications of this line of inquiry. In this research competition we therefore ask:

How can AI help us to consider our ethical standards more strongly in everyday life, in politics and in academia?


1 Who can participate?

a) in the research competition

The research competition is aimed at female students and doctoral candidates. Outstanding theses and dissertations engaging with questions about the ethics of digitization that are no more than three years old can be submitted. In view of the enormous variety of topics, submissions are not restricted to a specific field. The dissertation or thesis can come from any discipline in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences or humanities.

b) in the start-up competition

The start-up competition is aimed at female entrepreneurs whose business concepts deal with questions of the ethics of digitization. The company must have been founded in the last three years.

2 Funding

The prize will award a) one thesis or dissertation and b) one business plan with 5,000.-- EUR each.

3 Award Process

Applications must be submitted electronically by 31 March 2023 to deutsche-telekom-award∂ and must include the following documents:

  • CV,
  • Letter of motivation,
  • Summary,
  • Thesis/dissertation or business plan

In addition, we would be grateful if you could tell us how you became aware of this award (ARRTI page, newsletter, ...). This information is optional and not mandatory for the application.

a) Academic submissions will be assessed on the basis of two criteria:

  • Innovation of the business concept,
  • Substantial relevance for the ethics of digitization

b) Business concepts will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Innovation of the business concept,
  • Substantial relevance for the ethics of digitization

Projects will be selected by an independent jury of researchers and employees of companies according to the criteria described above. The jury selecting the applications will be “blind”; personal data is used for administrative purposes only.

4 Award Ceremony

The award ceremony will be open to the public and will take place for the first time in the second quarter of 2023 at KIT (possibly in concurrence with another event). In addition to the laudatory speech, the program will include two lectures (each about 30 minutes) by the award winners.

5 Contact

Any questions? Feel free to e-mail us at: deutsche-telekom-award∂


Status: Jan. 10., 2023