Late Autumn School 2019

Fragile Trust? Perspectives and Challenges in a Digitized World

The interdisciplinary DFG Research Training Group “Trust and Communication in a Digitized World” is organizing

an international and interdisciplinary Late Autumn School on
“Fragile Trust? Perspectives and Challenges in a Digitized World”
Münster, 21st-23rd November 2019


Trust, as well as the loss of trust, have become a topic of great interest both in society and in many fields of research. Current developments such as the spread of fake news, scepticism towards science and scientists, the use of innovative technologies in journalism and the shifting of teams into the digital work environment illustrate the importance as well as fragility of trust across different areas. An especially important aspect is the continuous process of digitalization of our society, which has an indisputable effect on people’s daily lives. Namely, digitalization implies a reliance on and integration of digital technologies in more and more areas of life. This raises questions on how to analyse and enhance trust in different spheres of society to ensure functioning of social processes and interactions. In order to scrutinize the role of trust in the digital age, we aim to discuss its operationalization in technology-enhanced environments, reflection of trust in public opinion and communication between experts and laypeople as well as emergence and development of trust over time. Further, we consider the role of trust on an interpersonal level, within organizations, in societal institutions and in society as a whole.

Call for applications

The topic of trust is relevant to different scientific fields, such as communication science, psychology, economics, information systems, sports sciences as well as further related fields. Therefore, we invite applications from PhD and Master Students as well as early Post-docs from all research disciplines dealing with the topic of trust and digitalization. Contributions may address the role of trust, distrust, and risk on a theoretical, conceptual or empirical level. Submissions that deal with the relationship between trust and related constructs such as transparency, credibility, etc. are also explicitly welcome.

Due to space limitations, all applications, which must include an abstract of the research project (mainly problem-oriented or a specific excerpt of the dissertation; 300 words) and a short scientific CV, will undergo a peer review process. Submissions should relate to the research topic of either the Research Training Group or the Late Autumn School. Please also state the status of your dissertation/master project and what questions you are currently dealing with. Furthermore, we ask interested master students to include a short recommendation letter by their supervisor. Applicants should clearly state which presentation format they are applying to (e.g. in-depth feedback session, poster session, or PhD presentations etc.). Applications for multiple formats are possible.

Deadline for Applications: 1st September 2019

Applications should be written in English language and submitted in one PDF document. To apply or in case of further questions, please contact Applications will be evaluated in a peer review process and response will be given until end of September 2019. The submitted abstracts will be published in a book of abstracts.


  • Poster Session

There will be a slot for poster presentations in which applicants can talk about their current research and discuss critical questions and theses on the topic of trust on a poster format. The session will start with an introduction round, where presenters introduce their poster within one minute. After this introduction, the audience and keynote speakers will discuss the posters.

  • PhD Presentations

Traditional presentations of 10-15 minutes will take place in panels of four papers. The applicants should present current aspects and topics of their dissertation or discuss the bigger frame of their thesis. The keynote speakers will provide feedback to all presentations.

  • One-to-one discussions

There will be room for individual one-to-one discussions with the keynote speakers. Participants can apply for these additional one-to-one discussions as soon as they are accepted.

  • In-depth feedback sessions

There will be a slot for in-depth feedback in case there is a sufficient number of applications. Participants have the chance to receive extensive, project-specific feedback from experts on the field of trust. In order to provide a profound basis for the session, applicants will be requested to submit either an extended abstract of 2.500 words or a full paper of 6000-8000 words. The keynote speakers will prepare feedback based on the submitted manuscript. Everyone participating in this session is expected to provide feedback on the other submissions. Please note: Participants of the in-depth sessions will also have to provide a short 150-word abstract for the book of abstracts.


We strive to give participants an opportunity to receive feedback from experts in the field of trust research as well as from their peers. To do so, the Late Autumn School provides a context in which ideas and concrete study plans can be discussed openly.
The following international researchers will join the Late Autumn School as keynote speakers and active contributors to students’ sessions:

Professor of Science Communication, University of Zürich, Switzerland
Dr. Mike S. Schäfer is Full Professor of Science Communication at the Department of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ) at the University of Zurich. He is also the head of the Higher Education and Science Studies (CHESS) and the Agora Committee for funding science communication at the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is an expert on trust in science communication, climate change communication, online and social media and public sphere theory.

Assistant professor of Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology, Dublin City University Business School
Dr. Lisa van der Werff is an organisational psychologist and lecturer in Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology at Dublin City University Business School. Her research interests lie in the areas of trust development and motivation. Her work has been published in journals including the Journal of Management, Journal of Computer Information Systems and Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Professor of Social Psychology, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Prof. Dr. Martin W. Bauer currently directs the Msc in Social & Public Communication at the London School of Economic and Political Science. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Public Understanding of Science and a regular academic visitor in Brazil and recently also to China, where he co-directs the Centre for Study of Science Cultures. His research portfolio includes the theory of resistance in social processes, social representations of and public attitudes to science and technology, in particular genomics and modern biotechnology. He is particularly interested in how public opinion influences the techno-scientific development.

Late Autumn School

Here you can read short releases from the past Late Autumn Schools: