About the Center for Digital Welfare

The Center for Digital Welfare (CDW) is a research center at the IT University of Copenhagen consisting of researchers from all three university departments: Business IT, Digital Design & Computer Science. The CDW researchers collaborate within ITU as well as with external stakeholders around research topics and projects related to the digitalization of the welfare society. Find a full overview of CDW researchers here.

The CDW contributes excellent, interdisciplinary research within the field of public digitalization and, together with its members, investigates and articulates what it means to live, govern, and work in a digitalized welfare society. The CDW aims to influence the development of the digital welfare society according to sustainable and democratic principles by providing the newest research to academia, public debate, and decision-makers.

The CDW’s strategic direction is formed by a collective management team, consisting of co-leads Irina Papazu, Sisse Finken, Louise Harder Fischer & Cancan Wang. Cancan Wang is the current Center Representative, Kitt Plinia Nielsen is Strategic Project Manager (currently on maternity leave) and Line Nykjær Johansen is substitute Strategic Project Manager. Furthermore, the CDW consists of external members across public, private and civil sectors. Find a full overview of CDW’s external members here.

The CDW is organized around emerging thematic activities within digital welfare where CDW members deep-dive into current research trends and topics, led by CDW researchers, as well as center-wide events co-created with our external stakeholders to ensure that the center is aligned with societal and industry developments. Members of the CDW are invited to join all CDW thematic activities (of which there will be approx. 6 pr. semester) and center-wide events (approx. 1-2 pr. semester).  

The ‘emerging themes’ of 2024 are:

Digital world map

CDW Emerging Theme #1: ‘Global comparisons and collaborations in digital welfare

Led by Associate Professor, Irina Papazu & Associate Professor, Cancan Wang

The digitalization of the Danish public sector is increasingly driven by international competition, as a number of countries are all striving to reach number one in international rankings. This has made ‘more’ digitalization a goal in itself, as Denmark is not willing to risk losing its international status as a digital frontrunner state. 

In this theme, we turn our critical, curious and empirically interested sensibilities toward investigating the implications of this global race, as we discuss both the risks and the innovation potential that may follow from these ambitions.

We are, further, interested in the intense work of knowledge sharing that is taking place across borders and between countries which we normally consider very different, and in investigating the dynamics and consequences of this sharing of 'best practices' in public digitalization across borders.

In this way, we are also interested in the changes in the meanings and institutions of digital welfare, as they evolve with global competition and collaboration on public digitalization.

Doctor in front of computer

CDW Emerging Theme #2: ‘Automation within the health, care, and social sectors

Led by Associate Professor, Sisse Finken

With this theme we focus on automation of health and care services and/or work and the different displacements that follows with such new technological configurations when they are introduced or imagined to be introduced to public and private settings of health and care.

We are particularly interested in the effects automation has on professions working within health, care and/or the social sector and on citizens who are in contact with these sectors. More precisely, we are interested in exploring how health, care, work, and, e.g., illness configure and come to take new forms that furthers new practices, skills, and values for both citizens and professions within health and care.

We will explore the role of automation in different domains – e.g. in diagnostic work, smart houses, and social work – and ask critical questions such as: who is supported by the technology, what and who is in- or excluded, what ethical concerns does it raise for whom and when, and e.g. what should the technology be trained on?


Figures in front of yellow sign reading artificial intelligence

CDW Emerging Theme #3: ‘Future Implications of Technological vs. Social rationality in organizational settings

Led by Associate Professor Louise Harder Fischer 

Under the sway of digital and generative technologies, the nature of work and jobs is changing rapidly. The overarching interest of this emergent theme is to understand how to promote well-being and quality of life as fundamental aspects as digitalization, as new technologies are transforming work, working lives and the society we live in.

In the thematic activities, we will aim to promote a deeper sociotechnical understanding of the interdependent relationship between humans and technology, to advance societal needs by providing knowledge for developing and designing intelligent technologies that operate in harmony with human workers, and explore ways of mitigating potential risks, including inequalities, arising from working at the human-technology frontier.

We will convene in meetings and round-table sessions to conduct multi-disciplinary research in collaboration with industry to sustain economic competitiveness, promote worker well-being and quality of life, and illuminate and problematize the emerging social and economic consequences of the technological innovations shaping the future of jobs and workplaces.

The research focus of this ‘emerging theme’ combines perspectives, methods, and knowledge from design, information systems, computer science, economics, and the social sciences in pursuit of a deeper understanding of how human needs can be met and values respected in the midst of a fundamental digital and societal transformation.



Meeting room

Our Advisory Board


PhD and partner Tobias Bornakke