Research Goals (1997 - 2002)
CITIDEP has as its primary objective to study participatory democracy,
in particular through research, development and demonstration (RD&D)
of new information technologies, of its impacts, and of ethical, social,
political and planning frameworks that enable participatory mechanisms in
the information society.
CITIDEP has a particular aptitude for applied research, based on national
and multinational multidisciplinary teams. We face the challenge of combining
research on technology and engineering with research on social sciences
and humanities, keeping a focus on participatory democracy and information
technologies; and the no lesser challenge of linking such research to concrete
measures in support of the civil society.
At this time, CITIDEP has also to deal with the difficulties inherent
to a start-up phase, particularly a chicken-and-egg kind of problem: without
funding, we cannot reach critical mass for effective research, which in
turn is required to obtain adequate funding. In order to address both (above
mentioned) challenges and difficulties, CITIDEP adopted initially a three-prong
strategy: a) a project-driven research strategy and corresponding research
team organization structure; b) an initial emphasis on the D&D components
of RD&D projects, easier to fund through service provision contracts
with ad-hoc project teams; c) a sustained effort to build and refine CITIDEP
research agenda, beginning with the best matches between research interests
of our associates.
This strategy proved effective [doc. "Research Team Experience"], but also highlighted its limitations. We need now to complement project-driven research with a domain/cluster-driven research, able to develop and sustain an institutional memory regarding research efforts; and prepare a shift from D&D emphasis to a more balanced RD&D emphasis, only possible
by becoming less dependent of funding from service provision contracts.
Consequently, CITIDEP is set on fulfilling the following goals over the
next 6 years:
- To define (and update) a General Research Plan, which will
include the creation of Research Clusters
focused on the thematic areas of greater interest to CITIDEP and its associates.
The proposed research cluster structure is as follows:
Research Clusters' specific agendas and composition
are described next [doc. "Research Clusters"].
- Support research
(1. Meta-Research; 2. Mathematical Analysis, Models and Simulation; 3.
Pedagogy, School Curricula, and Open Education);
- Information research (1.
Communications and Media; 2. Information Technologies);
- Society research
(1. Frameworks: Ideology, Ethics, Economy and Political Science; 2. Institutions:
Planning, Legislation and Public Administration; 3. People: Society, Communities
and the Individual).
- To obtain both financial and infrastructure means, through
research grants and service provision contracts linked to Research, Development
& Demonstration projects, in order to create the conditions to fulfill
the research agenda, namely the ability to fund CITIDEP fellowships, and
to provide installations, equipment and administrative support;
- To establish research and cooperation protocols with Universities
and other Research Centers, on both national and international level, in
particular those based on promoting the continuing reinforcement of bonds
between our researchers and their Alma Maters ; and also with Public Administration
institutions, in particular those committed to participatory mechanisms
(e.g. IPAMB) and to Information Society initiatives (e.g. Portugal's I.S.
Green Book Commission, and EU's Information Society Forum) [doc. "Institutional
and International Cooperation"];
- To supervise and support MSc, MPhil and Ph.D. thesis in CITIDEP
research areas of interest, acting also as host institution to young researchers,
students and grantees, for projects or course related work. At least four
Ph.D. and three MPhil thesis, with some support from CITIDEP, are expected
to be completed by 1999;
- To publish research work on the areas of interest of CITIDEP,
in particular building bibliographic support for each CITIDEP research
cluster, in academic journals of internationally acknowledged merit and
also on the Internet; as well supporting and promoting the participation
of CITIDEP researchers in international conferences;
- To organize a biennial conference on "Information Technologies
and Participatory Democracy", as well several other national and international
seminars with expanded participation through video-conference links;
- To develop and maintain a state-of-the-art, Internet based,
multi-nodal high-speed international video-link infrastructure, not only
to support CITIDEP multi-national research team work, but also to develop
and test tools and methodologies supporting telecooperation in general;
- To host the edition of an international scientific journal,
«Participatory Democracy», already with an editorial body of
researchers from Portuguese, British and American universities.