‘Digitalization permeates every aspect of life and will transform public health’. Such phrases are ubiquitous and underline the key challenge in digital public health: the use of digital technology is driven by technical opportunities rather than by demands. While this can lead to useful applications, it can also lead to technologies that fail to realize the key objectives of evidence-based public health and pose novel ethical, sociocultural and equity-related challenges.
The Leibniz ScienceCampus Bremen Digital Public Health (LSC DiPH) aims to develop a much-needed public health perspective on these challenges. Its activities focus on three key outcomes: a systematic framework to integrate digital technology into public health, guidance on developing digital technology for public health problems as well as the scope and methods for the systematic evaluation of digital technology in public health.
The LSC combines conceptual long-term research projects with a flexible suite of activities that build on the frameworks developed. These activities are based on competitive funding of pilot projects that are supposed to culminate in third-party research proposals. This in turn will provide evidence informing the refinement of our frameworks. Further, the LSC will host international experts in project incubators and establish an early-career researcher academy.
Existing networks between the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS and the University of Bremen will be extended, notably through two High-Profile Areas and the U Bremen Research Alliance. The LSC represents a broad interdisciplinary body of renowned experts in public health, epidemiology, computer science, humanities and social sciences.
The LSC DiPH moves beyond strongly segmented research activities on digital public health, thus becoming a leading consortium in this dynamic field. Ultimately, this will result in sustainable research, training and transfer structures that will make digitalization work for public health.