Wissenschaftsminister Gremmels taucht per VR-Brille in die Geologie des Naturparks Kellerwald-Edersee ein; Foto: Uwe Dettmar

Global warming is causing sea levels to rise, making coastal cities uninhabitable. The earth’s biodiversity is being lost and the changing climatic conditions are causing species to migrate to new areas, both of which are transforming the agriculture landscape. Humans and their economic activities are contributing to these changes, which are referred to as planetary polycrises.

There is still much to be learned about how these phenomena are connected to each other and how we humans and our economic practices contribute to them. Of essential significance is the unanswered question of what we can do to address these crises.

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Challenges

The Center for Critical Computational Studies (C3S) at Goethe University in Frankfurt is dedicated to these questions. It explores the interactions between digitalization and democracy as well as the dynamics of societal change. Computational models play a central role in understanding the complex relationships between geophysics, ecosystems and society, and in developing solutions for people, society and nature.

The C3S brings together experts from various disciplines, including IT, law and education, to tackle critical issues of our time. The aim is to impart “critical computational literacy”, i.e. the ability to use and develop digital technologies responsibly.

The “Planetary Hopes” Event

Pressegespräch zur Veranstaltung mit (v.l.) Dr. Nico Wunderling, Prof. Dr. Christoph Burchard, Timon Gremmels, Prof. Dr. Enrico Schleiff, Prof. Dr. Juliane Engel und Universitäts-Pressesprecher Volker Schmidt; Foto: Uwe Dettmar

The necessity of digitality as an instrument for shaping the future was emphasized by Prof. Dr. Enrico Schleiff, President of Goethe University, at the opening of the “Planetary Hopes” event, which took place hybrid at the Goethe University on 13.06.2024. Knowledge and approaches from various disciplines, as well as advanced models and techniques, are needed to understand and influence the polycrisis.

At the “Planetary Hopes” event, digital teaching methods were presented and keynote speeches were given on topics such as the predictability of tipping points and the One Health approach, which views the health of humans, animals and the environment as closely linked.

Innovative Teaching and Learning Methods

The C3S also offers a program focused on teaching, learning and education. Its goal is to impart critical computational literacy, which encompasses the skills and attitudes necessary to competently and responsibly use and advance computer and data-based technologies. As head of studiumdigitale and as PI at C3S, Hendrik Drachsler connects the two institutions together.

The C3S was founded in April 2023 and plans to create at least twelve new professorships in order to develop an independent research profile that includes teaching and training. The positions will be filled through an open and interdisciplinary process to identify outstanding colleagues and exciting ideas.

With its interdisciplinary approach and the integration of research, education and societal engagement, the C3S is setting standards in addressing the planetary polycrisis. It will be fascinating to see what insights and solutions emerge from this innovative institution!