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A new interdisciplinary event within PRIMER initiative

posted Jan 21, 2014, 11:47 AM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Apr 20, 2014, 6:55 AM ]

Understanding complexity: systems, emergence and evolution

Case study: the city (

Since 16/1/2014 at 12 am, the seminar "Understanding Complexity" will be active for registration in the website of Universidad de León. Other activities concerning PRIMER will be therein included. As in other ocassions, San Isidoro will offer us an exceptional framework as to develope fruitfull debates with our collegue Rainer Zimmermann, who has developed an exciting programme plenty of fundamental and intriguing questions.


The problems that our contemporary societies are facing overwhelm the methods of the specialised scientific and professional disciplines. They demand –in order to harness our very existences– a decisive confrontation of the complexity in which our problems are rooted. The theory of systems offers a path for such confrontation whenever the crucial aspects of how complexity emerges, how it is structure, and how it evolves is properly addressed. Under this perspective the course aims at offering an introduction into the general foundations of systems with a view to the conceptualizing of energy and information, insofar as such conceptualizing can constitute a keystone for the effective articulation of scientific and practical disciplines. Such articulation is indeed the main goal of the European initiative PRIMER (PRomotion of Interdisciplinary Methodologies in Education and Research, http://primer.unileon.es) under which this event is convened, complementing other courses held during the past years.

The city constitutes a complex system example of particular interest in which almost all scientific and practical disciplines can be convened in order to exhaustively dealing with the dynamics of its complexity. Hence, the city will serve as paradigmatic case for the study of the emergence and dynamics of complex systems, addressing at the same time the relevant relation between design and ethics, which in urban planning is particularly clear.

Introductory Webinar: The social praxis in the theory of systems

Include gadget (iframe)

The thematic will be fundamentally developed by Rainer Zimmermann, from the Munich University of Applied Sciences and Clare Hall of Cambridge and director of the Institut für Design Science, who has previously participated and co-organised other PRIMER events. In the Webinar here available, broadcasted from Munich in October 2013, Prof. Zimmermann discusses about the groundings of social praxis in the theory of systems, advancing the topics that will be further elaborated in León during the seminary "Understanding Complexity"Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, from the Swedish Mälardalen University, and J.M. Díaz Nafría will also contribute to the topic offering additional perspectives (s. programme).

PRIMER gives an step forward through the second edition of the international workshop on Social Networks-León

posted Sep 9, 2013, 4:19 PM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Sep 9, 2013, 4:21 PM ]

Summer Course and International Workshop: Social Networks, from communicating to solidary networks (an interdisciplinary approach)

13 -15 September, 2013 :: Sierra Pambley :: León :: Spain

Continuing the series of international events organised since past year concerning the promotion of interdisciplinary studies, the PRIMER initiative gives an step forward organising the second edition of the international summer course on social networks in collaboration with the PRIMER consortium members. Establishing liaison with the workshop on open system thinking organised past May, the new event on social networks will delve in the systematic view on social networks with respect to the problems challenging the information society at the socio-politic, economic, environmental, educational, scientific, cultural terrains.

Moreover, regarding organisational issues, the event deploys the hybrid concept of event and the open-badge certification, which belong to PRIMER core objectives. A meeting aimed at discussing PRIMER proposal for the next call within the European support programme Erasmus-for-all will be held on Saturday 14th, 15:30 pm (Brussels time).

  • Portal of the event containing updated information
  •  Evento Facebook
  • INSCRIPTION (attendance is free; certification requires a symbolic fee)
  • Hybid event: Offline and Online participation possible
  • An optional Soundpainting Workshop is included in which a Musical and Dramatic Performance concerning solidarity will be developed.

Workshop on Open Systems Thinking

posted May 12, 2013, 6:15 PM by José María Díaz Nafría

At the crossroads of a complex world

May 15-17, 2013 :: Sierra Pambley :: León :: Spain 

The foreseen activities for the meeting include –besides the scientific gathering– an open course for the public (in Sierra Pambley) and a training activity for academics (in the Language Center of León University). Both can be followed through the virtual rooms of UNED. It constitutes a first milestone in the development of an international academic programme coordinated by University of León for the promotion of interdisciplinary studies; a project emerged from domusBITae initiative, which in turn was initiated by BITrum in 2010 (s. PRIMER initiative). The activity is a result of the collaboration among several European universities (Vienna University of Technology, Munich University of Applied Sciences, UNED, Mälardalen University –Sweden-, University of the Aegean –Greece) and other scientific institutions (BITrum, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of System Science, Cybersociety Observatory).


Interdisciplinarity in education and science represents a fundamental path for facing global challenges, as recognised by several international education and scientific policies –substantiated in important funding policies. This approach is rooted in the fact that the complexity of the problems concerning our modus vivendi –regarding its biospheric, geo-politic, intercultural and socio-economic dimensions– grows in higher degree than the capacity to cope with problems by science articulated through the traditional schema of subdivided specialities. Hence, the possibility to master the complexity of our problems will rely on the capacity to jump over the barriers between specialities and to success in the effective collaboration among them. Nevertheless, despite efforts is repeatedly observed the insufficient advance in the cooperation between scientific disciplines.
There is however science and technical methods, widely and successfully used for decades (for instance, cybernetics), used to jump over the borders of traditional disciplines in order to understand and steer systems of high complexity, as ecosystems, robots, socio-economic dynamics… In this workshop, a general outlook on methodologies for the combination of scientific and technical domains will be shown, aiming to range the challenges of the scientific organisation and the possibilities of a systematic and open approach to interdisciplinarity. It belongs to a coordinated effort among several European scientific and higher education institutions for the PRomotion of Interdisciplinary Methodologies in Education and Research (PRIMER) which integrates systems science, open innovation and design science. Through this “open system thinking” several scientific and educational projects are tackled dealing with different theoretical and practical complex problems. By hosting the event at the Sierra Pambley Foundation, who has been involved for 125 years in a movement devoted to the integral education through the articulation of culture and sciences, the venue in itself offers a living example of systematic facing complexity.

Upgrading domusBITae as a crossroad for interdisciplinary studies to the Lifelong Learning Programme 2013

posted Dec 27, 2012, 10:04 AM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Dec 28, 2012, 5:19 AM ]

As previously mentioned within this site, the domusBITae initiative has been focused on the promotion of interdisciplinary studies as a whole, including of course the former objective of establishing a ground for the interdisciplinary study of information. Though the proposal of a Resource Centre for Information Studies, thoroughly developed at the end of 2010, shall be updated whenever a proper call is convened again (what has not been the case in the last two years, but is expected for the next European Frame Programme), in the meantime, the activities carried out within domusBITae circle, particularly between the Universities of León (ULE) and Munich (HM) have put the accent on the broad sense of interdisciplinary studies, from which a proposal -due at the end of January- is planned to be submitted on this topic to the Lifelong Learning Programme (as a Multilateral Project, see call).

This focus meets indeed one of the objectives of the European Commission as a means to face the complex challenges of our societies (s. EC: "New societal challenges for the European Union", Brussels, 2009; EURAB: "Interdisciplinarity in Research", 2004). These strategic objectives together with the European authorities' intention to boost social responsibility in compliance with the recommendations of the recently approved International Standard ISO 26000 provides a solid starting point to the promotion of interdisciplinary methodologies in research and education. This is particularly the case because, as several studies has shown, there is still a lack of methodology and general criteria for properly assessing and deploying interdisciplinarity -despite its strong support by different public public bodies in Europe and abroad (e.g., DEA-FBA: "Thinking Across Disciplines", Copenhagen, 2008). 

In order to fill this gap, we propose relying on a double focus: a systematic one, based upon systems and complex thinking; and a paradigmatic and practical one rooted on ongoing, successful interdisciplinary research (as information studies, cybernetics, environmental studies, or biotechnology), to be applied simultaneously at the education and research work through the problem-oriented cooperation enabled by the participants. It is needless to say that according to this focus the intention to participate by the Institut für Design Science (IDS) of Munich, the Betalanffy Center for the Study of System Science (BCSS), and the International Society for Information Studies (ISIS) represents a significant added value to the initiative. To this end, a preliminary proposal was presented to these research organisations, and approved past summer. In December the preliminary proposal was also approved by both the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies of HM and ULE.

Three new Partners for a Promising Journey on Interdisciplinary Research and Education

posted Oct 9, 2012, 6:27 PM by José María Díaz Nafría

In July the 5th 2011, representatives of the Institute für Design Science (IDS), the Bertalanffy Center for the Study System Science (BCSSS), the International Society of Information Studies (ISIS), meted together with domusBITae partners belonging to BITrum, University of León (ULE) and Hochschule München (HM) in Munich in order to discuss the initiative started by the cooperation between the Spanish and the German universities, targeted to the promotion and development of interdisciplinary methodologies in research and education. Several fields already active in such terrain (for instance, interdisciplinary investigation in information (BITrum and ISIS), System science and Cybernetics -BCSSS and Group of Cybernetics at ULE-, Ecology and Sustainability -ULE, HM, BCSSS-, Information Society -BITrum, ISIS-, Education -ULE-) would constitute fields for development of the proposed project. Some activities carried out along 2011 and 2012 constitute preliminary actions for demonstration and development of the initiative (e.g. the International Workshop on Information and Systems, Munich 18/1/12, the international meeting and summer course on "Social Networks: from indignation to change (ethic, aesthetic and politic aspects)", León 21-23/9/12).

The cooperation shall substantiate in a joint proposal to the Life Long Learning Programme of the European Commission, whose deadline for the opened call is at the end of January 2013. 

Cooperation Treaty among Munich University of Applied Sciences, University of León and Technical University of Vienna

posted Sep 18, 2011, 3:26 AM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Sep 20, 2011, 10:01 AM ]

In the summer of 2011 a cooperation agreement on science and education was advanced among the Munich University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule München, HM, Germany), the University of León (ULE, Spain) and the Technical University of Vienna (Technische Universität Wien, TUW, Austria). The agreement, settled in connection to the join participation in the domusBITae innitiative, was also linked to the professorial stay of José María Díaz Nafría (ULE) at the Hochschule München and the related investigation, undertaken together with Rainer Zimmermann (HM), aiming at searching a proper foundation for the interdisciplinary understanding of information, for which a manifesto from an evolutionary perspective is being discussed among the former authors and Wolfgang Hofkirchner.

Though the agreement was proposed at the first place for supporting scientific research, the frame is actually opened to educational activities - as the professorial stay of José María at the HM is to be considered, but also applicable to other programmes of student or teaching mobility -, as well as cultural activities - as the envisaged exchange of university choir ensembles. By these means we consider the domusBITae initiative is enriched including more commitments and better grounds at the level of both scientific research and education.

domusBITa Proposals to the European Commission and Assessments in 2011

posted Sep 18, 2011, 12:16 AM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Oct 24, 2011, 9:13 AM ]

As it was announced within this site, domusBITae has been proposed as candidate to two programmes of European support in the fields of e-Infrastructures for scientific research in Autum 2010, and educational cooperation (Alfa III) in Spring 2011. To this end a consortium was founded in November integrating 14 research and higher education institutions (from 5 European countries, 2 from China, 1 from the USA), which also gathered the commitments of the Supercomputing Center of Castilla y León and BITrum Research Group. This consortium constituted the formal proponent to the e-Infrastructures programme, whilst the proposal to Alfa III was proposed together with 6 Latin American Universities (University of São Paolo -Brasil-, University of Antioquía -Colombia-, Instituto Politécnico Nacional -México-, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad Nacional del Este -Paraguay-, and Universidad Científica del Sur -Perú).

The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation granted the initiative within the National Research Programme in order to make it competitive within the European Research Area. Following the objectives of the supported project the initiative was presented in a number of scientific events (s. announcement of Oct-2010), the aforementioned consortium was constituted, whilst early submissions to appropriate calls served to mature the proposal into the corresponding support lines in order to become successful in future editions. This foresight was confirmed by the evaluation of the aforementioned proposals: the eligible requirement were fully meted, but some improvements shall be done for the purpose of becoming elected within a frame of high competitiveness (e.g. only a 5% of proposals are elected for ALFA-III).

Concerning envisaged calls: 
  • Within the line of e-Infrastructures for Scientific & Technical Research, the FP7-Capacities-Working Programme-2011 not include any support line appropriate to our thematic. Thus it will not be until Autumn 2012 when the next suitable call to our initiative will be convened.
  • Within the line of higher-education, it is envisaged a suited thematic within the "Longlife Learning Program" of the European Commission, to be submitted next Winter 2012.

Preparation of a proposal to the ALFA III Cooperation Programme with LA

posted Mar 13, 2011, 4:01 PM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Sep 18, 2011, 12:15 AM ]

(2011/03/14) domusBITae is preparing a proposal to the 
ALFA III Programme of co-operation between Higher Education Institutions of the European Union and Latin America, belonging to the EuropeAid Development and Cooperation Frame of the European Commision. The proposal is aimed at developing an international academic programme, particulary focused in contributing to the erection of a Common Higher Education Area in LA, in which information represent the thread of commonality among different scientific disciplines. To this end 3 major goals are pursued (1) the broadening and consolidation of an open e-Science environment for the cross-disciplinary study of information at a regional and global scale, aimed at promoting an interdisciplinary culture; (2) the development of cross-disciplinary educational programmes based on the natural, technical, social and human aspects of information, aimed at contributing to the erection of a Common Higher Education Area; (3) the support of academic and training programmes by means of open information infrastructures.

Due to programme constraints, only domusBITae members of 2 EU countries can be partners of the proposed action together with at least 4 Higher Education Institutions of 4 LA countries. The rest of domusBITae members will be included as associates, for whom per diem and travel expenses are eligible costs.

Until 25/03/2011 a brief description (4 pages) of the proposal has to be submitted. In case of being elected, a full proposal has to be presented after an invitation in which the deadline is specified.

domusBITae was proposed to the Seventh Frame Programme in a call devoted to Data for e-Science

posted Dec 8, 2010, 8:43 AM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Sep 18, 2011, 12:15 AM ]

(2010/12/10) The call in which domusBITae took part, belongs to a larger thematic section of the Seventh Frame Programme for the promotion and deployment of electronic Infrastructures for scientific research. Its deadline was November 23rd, day in which we submitted a not fully developed proposal. The submitted texts partially described all changes included and decided within the last weeks of work, and they implied a significant variation to the initial proposal. Despite the chances to succeed in this specific contest, these novelties represent a relevant change in the proposed infrastructure and work teams which lead us to adopt them even for this call as a step for the competition into other related calls with better guarantees. These major upgrades can be synthesized in the following:
  1. Broadening of the consortium including: two Chinese partners (the Chinese Center for Overseas Social and Philosophical Theories; and the Social Information Science Institute), a German University (Hochschule München) and an academic institution devoted to e-Learning in Latin America (Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana). This geographically and thematically represents a relevant furthering of the infrastructure scope: into the Asian and American continents, and the educational realm.
  2. A semantic core of the infrastructure as a means to bring about the integration of the infrastructure through a direct linkage with the scientific interdisciplinary clarification work. This semantic background would nourish from the glossary module, merging into a metadata structure which provides interoperability within the whole infrastructure.
  3. User interfaces based on user experience and empowered by visualization tools aimed at facilitating collaborative work, navigation and data organization. By these means the infrastructure gains another integration path more visible than the semantic background and directly linked to the usability and accessibility criteria.
  4. The design and assessment councils on: (a) security and trust, (b) usability and user experience, and (c) interoperability are oriented towards a proactive search on best practises for the design concerning these specific topics. This objective responds better to the goals of the European Commission programmes regarding the promotion of best practises.
In the next figure some of these upgrades are illustrated. Specifically: (i) the Educational oriented tools (C&E stands for Collaborative and Education, EG for Education Group) aimed at the progressive constitution of an e-Campus; (ii) the domusBITae gate split into a confederated set of sites using an specialised CMS, and a user interface integrating all the resources into the infrastructure; (iii) the semantic network linked to the metadata structures of the system as a whole, to the search engines of the user interfaces, and to the interdisciplinary glossaries.

In the page of Open/Submited Proposals the calls and programmes identified as fitted to domusBITae initiative have been systematised. For a description and access the the proposal submitted on Nov.23 see here.

The details concerning the planning of each module and working activity must be deepened, but we face now a basic proposal emerging from consortium contributions notably enhanced with respect to the original proposed system. From coordination we wish to thank the commitment of all members and wish to encourage a continuous collaboration until the inclusion of the initiative into a supported action.

2010/12/03-The domusBITae gives a step forward in its internationalization with two new Chinese partners

posted Dec 1, 2010, 1:54 AM by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated Sep 18, 2011, 12:05 AM ]

We are very pleased to announce and welcome the recent incorporation of the Chinese Center for Overseas Social and Philosophical Theories (CCOSPT) and the Social Information Science Institute (SISI) at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Both represent robust pillars to the internationalization of the proposed infrastructure and the achievement of the expected impacts, on the other hand, this bring us the oportunity of strengthening the friendship intiated in Summer, 2010, in the ocassion of the 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Information Science, hosted and co-organized by the Social Information Science Institute and the Beijin University.

China Center for Overseas Social and Philosophical Theories, China

Team conducted by: Prof. Gang Liu (see Science Advisory Board)

The CCOSPT, attached to the Central Translation and Compilation Bureau and established in September 2009, grew out of debates with scholars in diverse disciplines in China and abroad. The Center strives to mobilize and coordinate both innovative research and usable development. CCOSPT in integrated by a group of full-time research professors and fellows, as well as part-time scholars in various fields from inland and across the world devoted to joint research projects. Especially, surveys of Internet impacts to the modern society in China find its priority in CCOSPT.
The center aims at following the new ideas, new proposals, and new programs in social, philosophical, scientific and technical activities outside of China, and to introduce these new developments to the Chinese audience, contributing to the policy-making in the central government, and to the modernization of China.

Social Information Science Institute at HUST, China

Team conducted by: Prof. Kang Ouyang (see Science Advisory Board)

SISI is dependent of the Huazhong Univesity of Science and Technology (HUST) is a national key university directly under the administration of the Ministry of Education of P. R. China. HUST is among the first Universities joining the national “211 Project” and “985 Project”. It was founded on May 26, 2000 as a result of the merger of the former Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Tongji Medical University and Wuhan Urban Construction Institute.

SISI (Social Information Science Institute) was established in December 12th, 2006. We aim to develop systematic innovation research in social information science; promote discipline innovation in information science and humanities; and foster interdisciplinary approach in humanities and science. We have organized first national conference on social information science (MCSIS’07) and first international forum on systems science and information science (IFSSSIS’07). Also in August 2010, we organized Fourth International Conference on the Foundations of Information Science (FlS 2010).

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