The Centre for a Digital Society (CDS) is an academic hub gathering scholars, public enforcers, practitioners, and representatives of the industry and civil society to debate the challenges of digital transformation and its impact on markets and democracy.

With its research, policy debate and training programme, the Centre aims at advising policy makers on how to cope with these challenges. To do so, it adopts an inter-disciplinary approach relying on in-house expertise in law, economics and political sciences. For a better understanding of the technical aspects of digitalisation, the Centre actively cooperates with computer scientists and engineers from partner institutions.

The Centre follows a non-doctrinal approach: the positive and negative effects of digital transformation are analysed objectively, without any pre-defined methodological approach, thus fostering comparison between different schools of thought.  

Core areas of activity

 The Centre engages in the public debate on digitalisation by focusing on the following core areas: 

Innovation: this core area deals with General Purpose Technologies, standardisation, and the evolution of IP rights in the digital context;

Competition, with a strong focus on competition policy in digital markets;

Regulation, to address the evolution of sectoral regulation in electronic communications, media and postal markets, as well as the emerging regulatory framework for digital platforms;

Democracy: this core area assesses the role of digitalisation in the evolution of civic participation, good governance and fundamental rights. 


The Centre for a Digital Society is based at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, the inter-disciplinary research centre at the heart of the European University Institute

The Centre builds upon the experience gained during the past decade by the Florence School of Regulation – Communications and Media and by the Florence Competition Programme.

With the establishment of the Centre for a Digital Society, the two projects merge into a unique programme, broadening their focus beyond the regulation of the media sector and competition policy. Within the Robert Schuman Centre, the CDS sets the ground for close collaboration with the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom

The Centre relies on a core team based at the European University Institute, and on its Scientific Committee of renowned international scholars.

The Centre has established strong partnerships with international organisations, and academic research centres. The Centre’s activities are supported by public funding and by several market donors. 

Main research topics

This research topic focuses on the newest technological developments, such as very high capacity networks and the latest generations of mobile networks (5G, 6G and beyond), efficient computing and Artificial Intelligence. Two crucial aspects of this revolution will be investigated in this research stream: digital technology development and network infrastructure deployment.

This research topic analyses the impact of digitalisation on industries that pre-date the digital era, such as the postal, telecommunication and media sectors. In particular, it looks at how incumbents and new entrants have adapted their business models in these industries in order to cope with the new challenges. The evolving regulatory framework in these sectors and its interaction with existing antitrust rules are also analysed.

The development of data governance frameworks has become a strategic initiative in many industries, from transport to the telecommunications and advertising industries, as well as health and smart cities.

This research topic examines the development of suitable data governance models, looking at the legal, economic and technological aspects involved in this process from a multidisciplinary research approach.

This research topic focuses on the dynamics of the attention economy. It investigates the economics of disinformation and its impact on public debate, election campaigns, the right to vote and, more generally, democracy.

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