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German Research Institute for Public Administration

Data-driven performance of public sector tasks

Data is the fuel for digitalisation. The dramatically increased growth in the amount of information year over year and the revolutionary technological advances in data processing have taken the information society to a new evolutionary phase. New technologies and machine-based learning processes are opening up entirely new possibilities for automating and controlling governmental processes.

In the Big Data universe, there is enormous potential for the both government and society. While in the commercial sector the economic benefits of mass data evaluation is very much in the foreground, considerations in the public sector aim for optimisation of the decision-making process with an emphasis on the common good as well as a more efficient design of administrative procedures.

In this context, the analysis of energy data in smart grids or traffic data in smart cities promises improved demand and risk management of the infrastructure for providing public service. By using social media monitoring, authorities can determine trend developments, the public mood, and thought leaders in social networks and use this information to perform their tasks. For example, a (federal) portal connection of digital administrative services can help to achieve the potential of the "once only" principle.

With the rising flow of data and the increasing management power of data analysis tools also comes considerable risk. Automated data processing, machine learning processes and artificial intelligence have yet to take a clearly defined place in the basic coordinate system for informational self-determination. The key research topic "data-driven performance of public sector tasks" therefore places the focus on the basic questions of whether the European Union and German data protection law is even sufficiently prepared for the new data handling processes and how an appropriate framework for governmental algorithm control might look.

The following projects cluster around this core research topic:


Note: The text on this home page is copyrighted. It is taken verbatim or based on Martini, "Digitalisierung als Herausforderung und Chance für Staat und Verwaltung" (Digitalisation as Challenge and Chance for State and Administration), FÖV Discussion Paper No. 85, 2016, in particular p. 40 f.

Programme Director

Prof. Dr. Mario Martini

Prof. Dr. Mario Martini



Quirin Weinzierl


Michael Kolain