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Summer School 2020 for PhD Students in Digital Transformation of the Public Sector

Organized by the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML)

Topic and Objectives

In recent years, digitalization has become an increasingly important topic on the public agenda. This trend is transforming the public sector from both an organizational and a cultural perspective, leading to new possibilities and opportunities. At the same time, strategies are being introduced to cope with new problem areas ranging from handling the enormous flood of data to ensuring digital participation and dealing with artificial intelligence.

At each step, people need to be kept in mind. After all, they are the ones who are using the new e-services provided by the government and who are most directly affected by decisions concerning public participation, data protection, or democracy. Other stakeholders, such as public employees or the economy, must not be forgotten, either. This raises the all-important question as to how the public sector can meet all those needs and expectations.

Against this background, the aim of this year’s Summer School for PhD students interested in digital transformation is to discuss aspects of digitalization affecting the public sector. Questions to be addressed may include:

In a series of lectures, leading scholars will present the status quo and discuss theories and approaches to help their audience understand these topics and how they relate to one another. Comparative studies will be introduced, for example, to show how digital transformation is applied in the public sector across different policy areas, tiers of government, organizational contexts, and countries. In addition, PhD students are invited to present their work (scientific paper or working paper).

As an integral part of this year’s Summer School, the hosts are organizing a visit to the IBM headquarters in Zurich, including its Solution Area, where the students will be given a fascinating look at the latest technologies based on concrete examples, followed by a presentation on digital transformation. Topics to be addressed will include data protection, ethics, and the employment market of the future.



Local Organizing Committee

At a Glance

Date: 5-10 July 2020

Location: ZHAW School of Management and Law, Zurich-Winterthur, Switzerland (PDF 495,4 KB)

Max. number of attendees: 30

Number of ECTS credits awarded: 3 (papers and paper presentations by PhD students will be graded)

Registration fee: EUR 300 (includes all course materials, meals, public transportation, program activities, and accommodation at IBIS Hotel, Winterthur). Participants will have to cover their airfare and personal expenses.


To apply for the Summer School 2020, complete the online registration form.

If you have any questions, please contact Chantal Menzi:

Your application must include:


Find all the information about the program here (PDF 47,2 KB).