The Center for Digital Welfare is engaged in a number of research projects revolving around the digitalization of the welfare society. 

Current Projects

"The digitization of Danish public sector has taken on the character of an international competition, where it is about taking the top place on the podium."

There is intense work of knowledge-sharing taking place across borders and between countries, which we normally consider very different, and it is the dynamics and consequences of this knowledge sharing of 'best practices' in digitization that a new research project will focus on.

The research project, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, is led by Irina Papazu, Head of Center at CDW and Jessamy Perriam, Assistant Professor at ITU. The project will look at how public digitization in Denmark is affected by ideas and technologies from other countries with which we do not necessarily share law or welfare values. What does it mean, for example, when we take over code from England for the development of Danish citizen service portals, or when we enter an IT policy collaboration with Israel?

Law enforcement constitutes an institution of the public sector that is going through a gradual transformation by applying digital strategies to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. The aim of the project ‘Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing’ (CUPP) is to investigate how values, digital affordances, and organizational politics are embedded in data-driven police innovations, as well as practiced by police officers and developers in Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and the UK. CUPP is funded by Nordforsk with DKK 2,2 mill, and the project runs in 2021-2023.

The CUPP project will apply an interdisciplinary framework at the intersection of Science and Technology Studies, Critical Criminology, and Critical Big Data Studies as well as a methodological approach consisting of historiography, interviews, and interventionist analysis. The 3-year project will generate insights about how policing is practiced in the digitalized state, and how scrutiny is ensured in the procurement of digital infrastructures. The research will shed light on what values are inscribed in digital solutions. 

CUPP is an interdisciplinary cooperation between the CDW, the Tallinn University of Technology, the University of Latvia, the Baltic Studies Centre, the University of Oslo, the University of St Andrews, and the Danish labour union PROSA.

To learn more about CUPP, read here or contact the principle investigator, associate professor Vasilis Galis


Digitalization in the Nordic countries has largely covered all welfare areas; social service, public schools, and health care. A strong user-perspective has led to a focus on self-service solutions. However, as citizens engage in encounters with the welfare state through educational, health care and social services, it is increasingly clear that there are still needs related to digitalization that are unmet. For instance, citizens who struggle with social, cognitive or health related challenges may refrain from using the digital solutions put in place by the public authorities. Even though they may be able to use mobile commercial digital devices and services through social media etc., their agency as digital citizens remain partial as more or less extensive communicative support is required for them to access welfare services. These are the key issues that the project ‘Infrastructure for partially digital citizens: Supporting informal welfare work in the digitized state’ (SOS) sets out to investigate. The SOS project is funded by Nordforsk with DKK 2,25 mill, and the project runs in 2021-2023.

The SOS project offers a comparative mapping of informationprocessing and communicative aspects of informal welfare work across three welfare sectors. Informal welfare work is unpaid support of citizens in his/her interactions with welfare state institutions and actors. SOS takes as a point of departure that in order to keep their position as world-leading digital welfare societies, the Nordic countries cannot afford to ignore designing support for such work. Not only does a lack of support for the partially digital citizens cut deeply into the overall Nordic value of universal welfare, there is a risk that welfare costs will escalate in the future, if support is not provided.

The project has a strong consortium of universities, public sector, and industry partners in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Its main ambition is to map informal welfare work in three welfare sectors across three Nordic countries and to propose and prototype socio-digital innovations that enable synergy between informal welfare work and requirements of public authorities. With an excellent consortium and a broad and engaged panel of affiliated partners we are well-equipped to offer solutions for an area that is currently invisible and unacknowledged, and help future-proofing digital welfare societies in the Nordic region.

To learn more about SOS, please get in touch with Strategic Project Manager Kitt Plinia Nielsen.

The corona crisis has demanded of individuals, families and societies a complete re-assessment of the functions and boundaries of the home. The lockdown required that private spaces accommodate typically public activities such as work, school, day-care, exercise, concerts, and religious practices. Meanwhile, the everyday life of the household became more segregated and hermetic. These shifts have made visible social, architectural, digital and existential structures of the home, bringing to the fore risks and potential of relevance for future homes.

The project ‘STAY HOME: The home during the corona crisis – and after’ (STAY HOME) will document experiences and initiatives and identify new insights and practices regarding the home which have emerged during the corona crisis. It trawls ethnographic archives collected in projects led by our collaborators and concerned with digital practices, daily life, reading habits and domestic violence.

STAY HOME runs in 2020-2024 and it is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. Anchored with the University of Copenhagen, the project is conducted by a cross-disciplinary team from the Faculties of Theology and Humanities (UCPH), The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture (KADK) and the CDW which will analyze these data in order to uncover insights that may benefit future homes and the life led there. The interdisciplinary approach is developed in an ongoing exchange with historical research into the home and its social, spatial, technological and existential implications conducted at the Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies.

You can learn more about STAY HOME by clicking here.

The project ‘Welfare after Digitalization’ (WaD) examines the many and varied consequences of public sector digitization in Denmark. WaD is supported by The Velux Foundations with DKK 6 mill, and it running in 2021-2023.

The WaD-project focuses on four different welfare areas: Law enforcement, primary education, healthcare, and local government. The assumption is that an analysis of the complex relationships between the institutional values, digital affordances and politics of these welfare sectors will help uncover new insights about how both citizens and professionals think about and experience welfare provision. The analyses will contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of public sector digitalisation, its consequences across different sectors, while also pointing to welfare areas in particular need of attention in the coming years.

WaD seeks to continue building a strong Danish research front on the numerous topics related to digitalization-in-practice, citizenship, platform economies, governance and accountability in STS, anthropology, communication and organization studies. Through different means of contrasting and comparing across sectors, WaD will be the first major research project to undertake a comprehensive study of welfare in practice, and of its consequences for citizens’ relations to welfare institutions in a digitalized state.

To learn more about WaD, contact the principle investigator, associate professor Vasilis Galis



As green transition becomes necessary for all industry, providing environmental, social and governance (ESG) data becomes increasingly important yet poses great challenges to investors, Fintech startups and clusters. These challenges hinge on startups’ lack of resources and capabilities to curate and report ESG data. The ‘CAREinFintech’ research project proposes such issue should be solved by efforts that come from the Fintech sector, and combine the interests between regulators, investors, Fintech cluster and start-up. The project is funded by Copenhagen Fintech with 200,000 DKK, it partners with Vækstfonden, Tekudo, and Syracuse University and its researchers affiliated with the Center for Digital Welfare are Cancan Wang (IT-University of Copenhagen), Carsten Østerlund (Syracuse University, School of Information Studies), and Yvonne Dittrich (ITU, Department of Computer Science).


The CAREinFintech co-develops a data-driven solution that helps Fintech sector to realise green transition in a collective manner. More specifically, the CAREinFintech researchers address Fintech ESG reporting challenges by developing a Collaborative Data Analytics (CDA) model that utilises a data-drive economy of scale approach associated with a cluster. The CDA method, tackles ESG reporting from three connected angles: data, organization, and governance. To achieve the project goal, we use a co-design approach through 1) interviews, and 2) trial implementations. We are working with start-ups and investment managers from LPs, VCs who are interested in ESG reporting for the Fintech sector.


The expected results from the project are: 1) A list of ESG Data Specifications suitable for Fintech Start-ups; 2) An ESG-specific organizational design for Fintech clusters to coordinate ESG reporting needs with start-ups and investors, and; 3) An ESG data governance setup ensuring continuous policy compliance and alignment between investors, Fintech start-ups and clusters.


To learn more about CAREinFintech, please reach out to Associate Professor Cancan Wang


Previous Projects

The research project AI Denmark (AI:DK) consists of a consortium with participation of the Danish Technological Institute, the Alexandra Institute, Aalborg University, the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen and the Center for Digital Welfare at IT University of Copenhagen. AI:DK is financed by the Danish Industry Foundation with DKK 34.5 million, and it runs over three years, from 2021 to 2024.

The aim of the project is to inspire and help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to successfully start using data and AI-tools in their digital transformation process. The project intends to make digitization and artificial intelligence practical and easy to understand for those not used to applying it.

Specifically, AI:DK takes 120 SMEs on a 6-month development journey (focusing on 40 SMEs per year) and helps them use data in gaining a competitive edge. None of these companies are digital frontrunners and will therefore benefit greatly from participating in AI:DK. In addition, AI:DK contributes to developing a national AI-universe consisting of best-practice cases, an online learning platform, an AI-community and the holding of Danish AI Awards.

If you want to learn more about the AI:DK-project and the CDW’s stake in it, you are welcome to contact Strategic Project Manager Kitt Plinia Nielsen or visit the AI:DK consortium website.


The project ”Development of teaching material on the use of data in municipal professional practices - cases from the health and elderly sectors” examines the production and use of data in municipal professional practices. The project is funded by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and will run in 2021 to mid-2022. 

This research project is based on an interdisciplinary collaboration between Københavns Professionshøjskole (KP) and the Center for Digital Welfare at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), rooted in both research and teaching on professions, respectively on the digitization of the public sector. Accordingly, the two research partners will enrich each other. The specific collaboration consists of preparing teaching material that can be used in courses in both Københavns Professionshøjskole and the ITU. The teaching material is to be included in tenders for higher adult and continuing education, and thus the project contributes to developing the in-demand competencies within data management among managers and professionals in the public sector.

To learn more about the project, contact ITU’s PI, associate professor Irina Papazu

The CDW originally grew out of research conducted in context the project 'Data as Relation: Governance in the Age of Big Data' (DaR). DaR was supported by The Velux Foundations with DKK 7,6 mill, and it has been running in 2016-2020.

The DaR project focussed on the numerous new uses to which data are put in the Danish public sector, as well as on how existing work practices are challenged because of these uses. The project found that one of the things big data has brought to practices of governing, is a redistribution of responsibility for using data for management purposes. In brief, everybody in a given organization is expected to take responsibility for harnessing insights from new kinds of digital data sources, and existing ways of knowing the organization are put under pressure, as are the technologies already in use. Managing this process is difficult, and much time and effort is spent figuring out the organization from the inside.

You can find more about the DaR project, its various subprojects and a list of publications by clicking here.

In early 2020, as the Corona pandemic swept across the globe, researchers from the CDW in collaboration with colleagues from Aalborg University’s Techno-Anthropological Lab (TANT-Lab) quickly established a data collection project called ‘The Digitalization of Everyday Life During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Denmark’ (also known as ‘Everyday Digitalization’). The project was supported by The Velux Foundations with DKK 1,2 mill, and it ran during the spring and early summer of 2020.

In collaboration, researchers from the CDW and TANT-Lab sought out ethnographic materials to better understand the role that digital media played in the lives of ordinary Danes. In particular, the material zoomed in on the disruption of everyday life and on how regular people attempted to restore order in an otherwise chaotic and uncertain time. As a result the project turned out a huge data collection that reveal in great detail how the Danes made use of digital technologies to restore everyday life. In the aftermath, the data collection was processed and made available to researchers affiliated with the CDW and TANT-Lab, and as such it will serve as basis for future research projects on digital welfare.

You can find more information (in Danish) about the Everyday Digitalization project by clicking here.

Reimagining Digital Infrastructures is a series of workshops funded by InfinIT (Innovationsnetværk for IT). The purpose of these workshops is to consider new ways of creating more ethically inflected digital futures.

Our first workshop is an exploration of ways in which digital infrastructures mediate societal relationships. At this event, we probed the impact of contemporary data practices on a range of societal actors and forms. Through a series of short talks and group discussions, we explored the emergence of a number of new technologies and practices that could, potentially, alter the future of our digital landscape.

The second workshop developed a speculative proposition. At this event, we speculated on the possibility of a particular data-energy platform configuration which we proposed as one way to re-imagine post surveillance-capital futures.

Our guiding frame is what the world would need to look like in order for the proposition to be realizable’ (new institutions, concepts, networks, relations, and so forth).

Our participant are from various backgrounds––including the public sector, the data centre industry, academia, design and innovation clusters, as well as other members of civic society. Each of these participants brings their own particular perspective to bear on how we might work collectively across sectors to intervene in the reshaping of our increasingly more digitalised society.

If you want to know more, please reach out to assistant professor James Maguire.

Covid-19 and the lock down of the Danish society led to many people keeping physical distance. Especially, a lot of older people have been forced into social isolation, where contact with important social relations has become very limited. For a large part of the population, this has meant a greater use of digital technologies that can create a togetherness and closeness despite physical distance. But what do this mean for older people, where digital technologies for many are not a central part of social life and socializing with others?

The project Social isolation among older people living alone under Covid-19 - how do the older handle everyday life, and what role do digital technologies play? will conduct an ethnographic study of older people's experience of the Covid-19 lock down, focusing on how they organize their everyday lives in relation to the new situation, how they experience isolation and including the issue of loneliness - and what role do digital technologies play in this context?

The project runs from July 2020 to February 2021 and it is carried out by associate professor Signe Louise Yndigegn and associate professor Morten Hjelholt. The project is funded by EGV Foundation (Social Inclusion of Older Adults), and to learn more please contact associate professor Signe Louise Yndigegn.


The project Urban Belongings investigates how people perceive, experience and attach themselves to the city of Copenhagen. By involving representatives from different urban populations in a process of ‘participatory cue-collection’ the project provides urban planners, architects and researchers with new perspectives on the extent to which public space is entangled with informal dynamics of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The project is being conducted throughout 2021 and in collaboration with the TANT Lab and Service Design Lab at Aalborg University, Gehl Architects, the Visual Methodologies Collective, the Public Data Lab and the Center for Digital Welfare.

Read more about the project here.

If you want to know more, you are welcome to reach out to assistant professor Thorben Simonsen.