Inaugural Address of the President of Goethe University

Prof. Dr. Enrico Schleiff

We are all facing global challenges that we can only tackle through joint efforts. We are dealing with both known unknowns and unknown unknowns, in short, unpredictable complex system dynamics at different temporal and/or spatial scales that require multidisciplinary knowledge, interdisciplinary collaboration, and new transdisciplinary approaches in which we continuously test, develop, and reflect on our theories and methods in dialogue with society. Nowadays this always means that we use our formal models and advanced computational methods and techniques to describe multi-scalar phenomena, integrate theories to improve our predictions and interventions - and to do all of this in a legitmate and justifiable manner.

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The Center for Critical Computational Studies, which I initiated and which was established at Goethe University in April of this year (2023), takes all of this into account. It serves as a plattform for multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary research and method development, open to all those who are directly or indirectly involved in the exploration, development, transfer, and reflection of computational methods and techniques and their application to describe and explain complex, "critical" transformation dynamics. The importance of this research is underscored by Goethe University's establishment of the C3S as a central scientific institution equipped with at least 12 new professorships, located at a new site, which, together with internal and external PIs, will develop Critical Computational Studies into a standalone research profile that extends to teaching and education.

It goes without saying that such a center does not emerge overnight. The initial conceptual contribtuors, Juliane Engel, Martina Klausner, Thomas Betzwieser, Christoph Burchard, Matthias Kaschube, Alexander Mehler, and Ernst Stelzer, have made essential contributions by nurturing the original idea and by advancing the transdisciplinary ambitions of C3S. They have thus laid the foundation for the founding board, which is now tasked with sharpening the C3S's profile, initiating first research and education projects, but above all creating an environment for the newly appointed colleagues who we will be recruiting in the years to come. For this, I thank them very much!