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Digital Society Institute

Digital Society Institute (DSI)

About us

Who we are

The Digital Society Institute (DSI) at ESMT was founded in 2016 with a mission to bridge technology and society through research, education and capacity building activities that place digital trust, privacy and human rights at the center of digital development. The DSI has built a strong reputation for conducting applied research at the intersection of technology, society and the economy, becoming a trusted source for expert advice on different aspects of digitalisation, such as secure digital identities, digital diplomacy, internet governance, EU digital and tech policies and German IT law. Expanding the scope of its work, the DSI is working towards becoming a leading knowledge hub on digital technology, regulation and cybersecurity issues, with a special focus on European technology policies and regulation.

What we do

The DSI offers interdisciplinary solutions to some of the most urgent problems of our time: this ranges from insights into the digitalisation of public services and the rapid automation of industry in Europe, to developing policy recommendations in response to the rising influence of emerging technologies on countries’ internal and external policies. DSI researchers are featured in academic journals and leading press, contributing on the latest technological issues, including eGovernance, digital platforms, international law, internet governance and cybersecurity. The DSI conducts numerous research projects, working with companies and public institutions, and regularly hosts workshops and conferences, featuring leading international speakers, public officials and hundreds of attendees from diverse backgrounds.

Event highlights

Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights
11th Sino-European Cyber Dialogue
SyntAIgration: Thinking Beyond Cyber
Shaping Cybersecurity Conference 2023
Paving the Way into the Future of Cyberspace
Recent Event

Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

ESMT Berlin | 18-19 December 2023
Past Event

11th Sino-European Cyber Dialogue

Warsaw | 21 & 22 November 2023
Past Event

SyntAIgration: Thinking Beyond Cyber

Berlin | October 18-20, 2023
Past Event

Shaping Cybersecurity Conference 2023

19 June 2023 | ESMT Berlin | Audimax
Past Event

The UN Project of a Global Digital Compact

ESMT Berlin | February 24, 2023

DSI in the news

"Advancing European Cyber Resilience and Defence"

January 18, 2024 | Directions Blog
Directions Blog featured a post by Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, Director of the Digital Society Institute (DSI) at ESMT Berlin, examining the escalating cyber threat in Europe and providing strategic insights on how to address the growing cybersecurity challenges.

"Von Cybersicherheits-Sprechstunden bis Notfallübung"

January 4, 2024 | Tagesspiegel Background
In the first issue of the year, Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, Director of the Digital Society Institute (DSI) at ESMT Berlin, shared her predictions and expectations for cyber policy and diplomacy in 2024.

Joint DSI Submission to UN Advisory Body on AI

October 23, 2023
In late September 2023, Nils Brinker, Richard Skalt and Helene Pleil, researchers at the Digital Society Institute (DSI) at ESMT Berlin, jointly responded to the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology’s call for papers on global AI governance.

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Upcoming DSI Events


Zwischen Wolken und Clouds: Wie begegnen wir physischen und digitalen Gefahren im Luftverkehr?

May 21, 2024 | 14:00 - 17:00 | Akademie der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Berlin

Selected Publications


DSI Talks, Panels, Interviews - Watch it all on YouTube

Supporting Partners

Research and Development Partners

Academic Partners

Media Partners


Digital Society Institute

ESMT Berlin

Schlossplatz 1

10178 Berlin

Phone: +49 170 4807442