The following mission statement has been developed by the
multistakeholder team that boostraps the research institute. The
mission statement is meant to serve as a totem for the community
behind the institute; it is therefore a living document that will
develop over time.
Mission Statement (Version 1.0)
The Internet and society research institute (*the name is not decided
yet*) centers on research and deliberation on the culture and practice
of (1) Internet based innovation, (2) Internet policy, and (3) related
legal aspects. We strive to provide insights enabling all stakeholders
to better shape the transformations the Internet stimulates within our
networked societies in Germany, Europe and internationally.
Specifically, the institute:
• focuses on transdisciplinary research and collaboration between
academics, policy makers, civil society and private sector.
• promotes a humanistic conception of the Internet and a user
centered approach to Internet policy making and innovation, multi-
stakeholder governance in digital ecosystems, their relationship with
society, and their constitutional implications.
• supports the continued development of a free¹ and open² Internet
and its potential to increase welfare, democratic capacity, sciences
and the arts. Hence we aim to better understand the qualities,
dynamics, and implications of the Internet with regard to society and
governance at large.
¹free space = in that there are little restrictions on content and
behavior and contribution is broadly permitted
²open space = based on a philosophy of openess, i.e. open standards
that ensure interoperability and open innovation
Q: Which institutions and who are you working with to set up the
A: We are currently in the process of identifying the best academic
partners. We hope to announce the concrete plans including the
academic institutions and the team of leading academics within the
next months after we have reached a final agreement.
Q: When will the Institute start its operations?
A: The plan is to inaugurate the institute later in the year.
Q: Why are you funding such a research institute?
A: Web-based innovations cause a variety of social, economic and
political transformations. These demand interdisciplinary research
carried out in a specialized center of excellence. While Germany is
already the home to many world class researchers the Internet and
society institute will give the community a space to exchange and
learn from each other and to tap into the insights of other
stakeholders from civil society, business and politics.
Additionally, we want to further our investments in Germany and we
believe that such an independent research institute will improve
understanding and discussion about Internet governance and Internet
Q: What are the research subjects of the institute?
The Internet & Society Institute centers on research and deliberation
on the culture and practice of (1) Internet based innovation, (2)
Internet policy and (3) legal aspects.
Q: Will the Institute focus on research about/for Germany?
A: The institute will strive to provide insights enabling all
stakeholders to better steer the transformations the Internet
stimulates within our networked societies in Germany, Europe and
Q: Where will the institute be based, will it be with the Humboldt?
A: We are currently finding the best organisational set-up for the
institute. Humboldt University is one of the potential partners and
possible hosts for the institute.
Q: Who will be heading the institute?
A: We believe the institute should be led by a board made up of
thought leaders from academia, the Internet community, politics and
Q: Will the name be the Google Institute?
We believe that the institute should be independent and pursue an
academic mission that is in the public interest.
Q: Is this the first time you are installing such an institute or is
there a role model from Google in other countries?
A: Yes, this is the first time we are founding a research institute
for Internet and society.
Q: How many professors/staff will be working there?
A: It is too early to talk about details. The idea is to work with a
core faculty that organizes and supervises research through Calls for
Proposals, with PhD-students as well as national and international
Q: Will the institute be open for other companies/institutions as
well? Can others support with additional funding?
A: We are actively looking to work with partners from academia, civil
society and the private sector. We are certain this will be an
important step to broaden the scope, relevance and impact of the