Research Across Boundaries: Challenges of Interdisciplinary Work in the Context of Law
Interdisciplinary Research Day at the University of Graz. June 18, 2021
Interdisciplinary research bears the promise to promote understanding and to find solutions for complex problems affecting humanity today: Current global challenges, such as climate change, digitalisation and artificial intelligence require joint efforts across all disciplines to reap the benefits of research and technological progress without losing sight of the achievements our societies have fought for so hard.
While for researchers, interdisciplinary work means moving towards a broader perspective, breaking down the entrenched boundaries between disciplines and adopting an open view proves to be demanding. Challenges range from developing a common vocabulary and understanding between disciplines to finding suitable methods for interdisciplinary work. Anyone leaving the safe haven of his or her field of expertise to embark on the troubled waters of interdisciplinary research needs a solid vessel and the willingness to leave many things taken for granted behind.
REWI Graz, the Faculty of Law at the University of Graz has a long-standing tradition of encouraging interdisciplinary research among its members. Still, notwithstanding this approach, the faculty is eager to listen to others, to learn from their experiences and to provide fora that allow academics from different countries and different traditions to meet and to exchange their views. Thus, in 2021 REWI Graz will open its doors to researchers from all over the world to discuss the common challenges of interdisciplinary research.
On 18th June 2021 the faculty invites scholars from all disciplines to present papers on the theoretical and methodological challenges of interdisciplinary research in the context of law with a focus on the following areas
- Climate Change is one of the greatest challenges humanity faces today: rising temperatures, melting polar caps and increasing CO2 emissions are threatening life on earth as we know it. The effects of climate change are also unequally distributed, with lower-emission countries being hit hardest. Managing the climate crisis therefore requires a global joint effort and fundamental changes: How can the “1.5 degree centigrade” target still be met and how can we ensure a timely, just and fair transition to a low carbon society?
- Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Driving: AI holds the promise to make our journeys not only more relaxing, but also, and more importantly, safer. Hundreds of different sensors scanning the streets and feeding data into a car, are expected to respond more quickly and reliably to what’s happening on the streets and therefore reduce human fault. But do we run the risk of entrusting AI all too many aspects of our lives and are we prepared to face the ethical issues associated to its use?
- Digitalisation and Cybersecurity: The era of digitalisation simplifies people’s lives and creates many other advantages for individuals and companies. Every day, however, an ever-increasing amount of information about our choices, habits and our personal characteristics is collected by a multitude of actors. Digitalisation has thus created new threats to privacy and the use of digital identities. How can we reconcile the benefits of digitalisation with the requirements of data protection and security?