The research training group "Digital Platform Ecosystems" is dedicated to studying a key phenomenon of the digital economy and society and sets new standards for the qualification of young academics.
Digital platform ecosystems are the basis for fundamentally novel data- and knowledge-intensive business models. AirBnB, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Ping An, Uber and many more of the most highly valued companies in the world constitute platforms that form the centre of such digital ecosystems. Digital platform ecosystems emerge in almost all sectors of the economy as well as in non-profit areas such as development aid and emergency humanitarian support. Digital platforms reduce information asymmetries but also create new information barriers and bases of market power. As such, they have far-reaching and potentially profound implications – opportunities and risks – for business and society.
A deeper understanding of digital platform ecosystems requires an integrated, systemic view from several disciplines. The DFG Research Training Group 2720 "Digital Platform Ecosystems (DPE) – Digital platform-based value creation and its implications for data exchange, organisation and socio-economic development" offers such an overarching perspective. DPE has a unique profile, drawing from a variety of disciplines including information systems, business administration, economics and communication science, that sets itself apart from other research clusters on digital platforms.
DPE offers doctoral and postdoctoral students a specially tailored qualification and support concept which promotes both disciplinary strengths and cross-disciplinary openness. The inspiring and internationally designed research and training programme develops the toolset and mindset needed to make ground-breaking contributions to basic research on digital platform ecosystems, to derive effective recommendations for action and to make responsible decisions at the individual, organisational, regulatory and societal levels.
DPE combines three interdisciplinary research areas that complement each other and form a systemic perspective on digital platform ecosystems:
- Research Area A, "Data Exchange in the Platform Ecosystem", examines the data-centric exchange relationships within the digital platform ecosystem, both between the platform and its affiliated companies, as well as between the platform and individuals.
- Research Area B, "Innovation, Transformation and Organisation in the Platform Ecosystem and its Competitive Environment", focuses on the implications of the platform ecosystem for organisation and management, particularly as it relates to the companies that operate and emerge within the sphere of influence of the platform ecosystem and the knowledge-intensive collaboration and innovation processes that unfold within the platform ecosystem.
- Research Area C, "Socio-Economic and Regulatory Dimensions of the Platform Ecosystem", broadens the focus to include the social and socio-economic environment of platform ecosystems, so as to examine their impact on socio-economic developments in urban areas and developing countries as well as the political discourse that co-emerges with and shapes the regulation of platform ecosystems.
All three research areas leverage already existing research and mentoring collaborations among the interdisciplinary team. For example, the team have together organised a joint lecture series that involves especially distinguished guest speakers, and the team members are involved in various research collaborations. DPE fits directly into the strategic profile of the University of Passau – in particular the vision to become one of the leading research centres on the societal implications of digitalisation.
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is supporting the Research Training Group over a period of 4.5 years with a budget of EUR 5.4 million.