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Press Release

ESMT Berlin, EY, and Nimbus to conduct accompanying research on digital identities for German federal government

Digital Identity Finger print
ESMT Berlin’s Digital Society Institute, in collaboration with Ernst & Young (EY) and Nimbus Technologieberatung, will take over the accompanying research for the technology Showcase Programme “Secure Digital Identities” of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Until the end of 2024, the three partners will support the ministry with scientific monitoring, networking, and the transfer of the results of the innovation program into standardization and implementation.

The Showcase Programme “Secure Digital Identities” promotes projects throughout Germany that focus on the development and broadly application of secure digital identities. Numerous cities and municipalities, commercial enterprises, and scientific institutions are involved. With support from the accompanying research, the various projects are intended to lay the foundation for a networked ecosystem of digital identities that will form the basis for new types of trustworthy Internet services throughout Germany.

“We are committed to enabling a German and European alternative to the identity services of large global platforms. The key factor for success is the cooperation of government and industry to create an identity ecosystem,” says Martin Schallbruch, director of the Digital Society Institute at ESMT, and head of the accompanying research. The focus of this research will be on the interoperability of digital identities and the broad application across all industries.

“Secure digital identities are essential to any digital business model. We will work to enable interoperable solutions for all industries, including public administration,” says Ulrike van Venrooy of EY. As part of the innovation competition, three to four consortia in different regions of Germany are expected to implement different application scenarios.

“We need reliable technical processes that fit together across Europe. An important task for us will be to use the experience gained from the projects to contribute to European standardization,” explains Arno Fiedler, director of Nimbus Technologieberatung. The results of the showcase program should contribute to a harmonized European solution for secure digital identities.

“The technology program, its projects, and the accompanying research, will demonstrate the benefits of secure digital identities in numerous everyday use cases. Through the showcas character of the program, we want to make the results visible throughout Germany and Europe,” says Dr. Stefan Afting, Head of the Showcase Programme at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The accompanying research of the Showcase Programme “Secure Digital Identities” will take place from March 1, 2021 to December 31, 2024. The research team may be reached at


The Digital Society Institute (DSI) is an interdisciplinary research institute of ESMT Berlin, founded in 2015 with the support of leading global companies. It accompanies the economic and social design of digitalization through strategic research and development.

Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (EY) offers services in the areas of consulting, auditing, and taxation, as well as strategy and transaction consulting. With around 284,000 employees in approximately 700 offices in more than 150 countries, EY is one of the world’s largest consulting and auditing organizations.

Nimbus Technologieberatung GmbH has been active in the field of practical design of trustworthy information systems for more than twenty years. The main areas of activity include the legally compliant design of trust services, the management of complex projects in the field of secure identities, and the application of privacy-friendly technologies.


About ESMT Berlin

ESMT Berlin is the highest-ranked business school in Germany and Top 10 in Europe. Founded by 25 leading global companies, ESMT offers master’s, MBA, and PhD programs, as well as executive education on its campus in Berlin, in locations around the world, online, and in online blended format. Focusing on leadership, innovation, and analytics, its diverse faculty publishes outstanding research in top academic journals. Additionally, the international business school provides an interdisciplinary platform for discourse between politics, business, and academia. ESMT is a non-profit private institution of higher education, accredited by AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS, and FIBAA, and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion across all its activities and communities.