CMC – Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies together with the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)
The Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies (CMC) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the University of Klagenfurt (Alpen-Adria-Universität / AAU) was founded on 1st January 2013. It succeeds the ÖAW Commission for Comparative Media and Communication Studies, which was founded on 1st February 1994 and was originally named the Commission for Mass Communication History, based on a study group founded in 1991.
Media and communication research is one of the key disciplines of the modern media and information society. With the increasing dynamism and complexity of the political and social environment, the opportunity for individual primary experience is diminishing, as a result of which the mediated experience is becoming more important. At the same time, the growing diversity of communication technologies is leading to new approaches to content channeled through the media. In consequence, not only the conditions of media production, but also the processes of public opinion formation as one of the fundamental pillars of a democratic community are changing. CMC investigates the connection between media change and the changing forms of political communication and public opinion formation (including both traditional mass media, professional journalism and new forms of digital communication that are increasingly driven by social networks and algorithms), as well as the accompanying consequences for action and responsibility on the macro-, meso- and micro-level.
Rooted in the social sciences, research at CMC is independent, methodologically innovative, interdisciplinary, and internationally collaborative. Investigation of the communication performance of the media, of their structural preconditions and their societal consequences calls for an approach that is comparative in many respects – be it across time or between various countries, media, and populations. The partnership of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Klagenfurt in operating CMC is an excellent opportunity to focus on long-term basic research and follow Humboldtian ideals, bringing research findings directly into education as well as into public and political discourse, and giving support to the younger generation of researchers.
Fraunhofer Austria establishes the Innovation Centre “KI4LIFE” in Carinthia
Since its foundation in 2008, Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH has supported companies of all sizes and industries, serving as an independent partner with know-how and expertise. In addition to the locations in Vienna, Graz and Wattens, where more than 70 employees are already working on application-oriented solutions, a fourth location is now being added in Klagenfurt with the Innovation Centre “Digitization and Artificial Intelligence” – KI4LIFE for short. Since 1 October 2019, a start-up team of scientists has been working there on concrete solutions to problems in order to support Carinthian companies with the challenges posed by digitization. When fully expanded, the number of employees is expected to rise to 15 full-time staff, with a further expansion to 30 staff planned in the long term. For the time being, the Innovation Centre will be located in the immediate vicinity of the University of Klagenfurt – at Universitätsstraße 102 – with a relocation to Lakeside Park scheduled for July 2020.
The center is made possible by an alliance of strong partners: Fraunhofer provides top know-how and a network consisting of 72 institutes and more than 26,000 researchers worldwide; leading Carinthian companies such as Infineon Austria contribute their expertise, their network and their needs; the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce as well as the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Federation of Austrian Industry provide a direct link to companies; the city of Klagenfurt and the province of Carinthia strengthen the centre with further support. Seven research groups of the Faculty of Technical Sciences of the University of Klagenfurt conduct research in close professional proximity to the orientation of the Centre and will develop synergies through cooperation. In addition to the existing consortium, future cooperation with Joanneum Research and the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences is planned. With its application-oriented research, KI4LIFE will bridge the gap between university research and industry.
The cooperation with the university, which includes not only the exchange of knowledge but also the cooperation in challenging industrial projects, is one of the three pillars of KI4LIFE’s activity profile. Another essential pillar is provided by commissioned research within the scope of project activities, which is also the economic basis of the centre. The third pillar is the analysis and consulting activity on behalf of small and medium-sized enterprises. For this purpose, instruments available in Austria, such as consultancy cheques, are used. The further qualification of employees and the topic of education play a major role in all fields of activity of the Innovation Centre.