Newsportal - Ruhr-Universität Bochum
WUN University Network Funds Two Research Projects
Ruhr University Bochum has been a member of the Worldwide Universities Network since 2022 – a university network with 24 leading research universities from all over the world. Each year, the network announces the Research Development Fund for joint research projects conducted by members of the network universities, which focus specifically on priority issues in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. In December 2023, two project applications submitted by Ruhr University Bochum were approved. Funding has been allocated to the project “Business and Human Rights – A Comparative Regional Perspective” by Professor Pierre Thielbörger from the International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict Institute and the project “Global network for responsible human-centred AI management and context-sensitive operations – Keep the users in the loop (NET-hUmAIN)” by Professor Uta Wilkens from the Applied Work Science Institute.
Taking the human factor into account
How do politicy-makers tackle the issue of “business and human rights” at regional level? Pierre Thielbörger will be exploring this question together with WUN co-researchers from different regions of the world. Action plans have long been drawn up and laws created at the levels of nation states and the UN. But what about European, African or Asian initiatives? Thielbörger and his international colleagues plan to compile and compare regional perspectives and approaches. The results will be discussed in a workshop and recorded in a joint publication.
How can AI best be implemented with the user in mind? How can we ensure that we can trust AI and that it is tailored to the context and the users? Uta Wilkens’ project aims to establish a transdisciplinary, global network (NET-hUmAIN) together with partner universities from five continents, which will focus on the development, testing and evaluation of human-centered AI applications. The WUN network partners intend to share and pool their expertise on AI methods and jointly develop an evaluation scheme for AI tools based on UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 8 (well-being, health and decent work). A symposium for early career researchers on “Responsible and trustworthy AI” is also planned.
Working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Both research projects are thus clearly in line with WUN’s vision. “The aim is to bring WUN researchers together to conduct innovative and high-quality research on the overarching WUN research topics and to jointly find solutions for the associated sustainable development goals,” explains Monika Sprung, Head of the International Office.
I believe there’s great potential in the WUN research initiatives.
Professor Martin Paul, Rector of Ruhr University Bochum, welcomes the international cooperation and the start-up funding. “Being a member of WUN has truly paid off for our university. Ruhr University Bochum has succefully participated in the annual call for proposals of the Research Development Fund since its first year of membership, and then again in 2023. This means that ideas for research projects relating to the SDGs can be put into practice without delay. I believe there’s great potential in the WUN research initiatives and am confident that larger research projects will emerge from them.”
8 February 2024