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The energy revolution is of central importance for our society. To achieve this, the proportion of renewable energies must be increased, synergies between sectors exploited and energy consumption reduced. Users have a decisive role to play in all three points. Through the active participation of users, the efficiency of the systems can be increased, energy requirements reduced and the overall system made more flexible. Furthermore, the participation of the users and the resulting generation of data is an enabler for new innovative energy services. The ANSERS project investigates the potential and possibilities of active user participation in intelligent energy systems. The developed energy services will be tested and evaluated in the Smart City Area Graz.

Funding: Zukunftsfonds Steiermark

Project leader: Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Dipl.-Psych. Katja Corcoran, Dr. Gerald Schweiger (deputy)

Project partner: Graz University of Technology, Institute of Software Technology


Due to significant changes in job application behavior, the use of chatbots is becoming more common in the field of recruiting. Chatbots support the pre-selection and the collection of data about applicants. But little is known how to prepare this data for HR professionals in a way that fair, transparent and accountable decisions are taken. In this project a design study proposes a dashboard for visualizing large data sets collected by conversational agents for HR professionals conducting preselection.

Project head: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bettina Kubicek, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Thalmann Team: Christine Malin, MA, Rita Prassl, BSc

Exzellenzförderung Smart Regulation / Internally funded project

Data-Driven Detection of Competition Law Infringements: Setting Out the Legal Framework

Antitrust violations in their various forms result in considerable costs and disadvantages for competitors, costumers and the public at large. Yet uncovering such violations is often difficult, as they frequently happen in secret. However, in the wake of digitalization, large amounts of data are often publicly available that may offer clues to (potential) antitrust violations.

The emerging field of computational antitrust utilizes this data to detect such clues. While there are first case studies and discussions in the scientific literature, a number of issues remain open both from a legal and a business analytics perspective that the DataComp project will address.

It does so by (a) providing a first systematic overview of case studies on data-driven antitrust infringement detection, the data needed to do so and the availability of such data in Austria. Building on those technological possibilities, we (b) investigate the legal significance of this technical state of the art from the perspective of Austrian and European public enforcement. Finally, we (c) develop a legal framework that sets out new legal parameters that would allow for a stronger incorporation of data-driven antitrust violation notifications into Austrian and European public enforcement mechanisms.

Project head: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Viktoria Robertson, Dr. Jürgen Fleiß,​​​​​​​ Univ.-Prof. Dr. Matthias Wendland, Team: Mag. Franziska Guggi, Mag. Lukas Soritz

Exzellenzförderung Smart Regulation / Internally funded project

Digital communication and safeguarding the parties’ rights: challenges for European civil procedure

The aim of the project is to promote judicial cooperation in civil matters and to contribute to the effective and coherent application and enforcement of EU instruments, in particular facilitating cross-border procedures in regards to taking of evidence and service of documents.

01.06.2022 - 31.05.2024

Project partners: Univ.-Prof. Bettina Nunner-Krautgasser (Project leader University of Graz), Mag. Tobias Weidinger, Mag. Julian Schnur.  Project Lead University of Maribor, University of Wroclaw, University of Uppsala, Maastricht University, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University Hannover, Faculty of Law Rijeka.

Funding: European Commission

Enabling and Assessing Trust when Cooperating with Robots in Disaster Response

Assistance robots can support emergency forces in crisis situations. The robots can be used to obtain information or manipulate dangerous objects. Fully autonomous systems, however, are currently not feasible neither in terms of acceptance by emergency forces nor in terms of the state of the art. Thus, the project EASIER focuses on semi-autonomous robot systems, where the levels of autonomy in the cooperation of operators and robots can be adapted.

In this context, trust in the assistance system is of utmost importance. In addition to trust in the robotic system, the cognitive load caused by the use of the system is also crucial for its acceptance. In this regard, the project aims to develop sound and field-ready methods for measuring trust in assistance systems and the cognitive load caused by their use.

The primary innovation of the project is to investigate in depth the measurement of trust and cognitive load, as well as measures to improve them, in an interdisciplinary team (psychologists, visualization experts, computer scientists, roboticists, field operators).

The planned direct coupling of the assessment of trust and cognitive load with possible changes in interaction design, autonomy management, and transparency of the robot will provide new insights into the nature of trust in assistant robots and enable the development of improved support systems.

During the course of the project, field tests are planned in which the measures for improving trust will be systematically evaluated and the implemented robot assistance functions will be tested in practice.

Project leader University of Graz: Univ.-Prof. Bettina Kubicek

Project partners: Graz University of Technology (project management), Disaster Competence Network Austria, Berufsfeuerwehr Graz, BM f. Landesverteidigung, Rosenbauer International AG


Funding: FFG

Energy Citizenship and Energy Communities for a Clean Energy TransitionHorizon 2020 project

The project focuses on the active involvement and empowerment of citizens in the energy sector – as a cornerstone to achieve a clean-energy transition and to build a low-carbon and resilient future in the European Union within the next decades.

Based on an inter- and transdisciplinary conceptualization of energy citizenship, EC² deliberates economic trends, identifies economic conditions, business model innovations, public support policies and legal regulations that are needed for the emergence of energy citizenship and its potential contribution to the low-carbon energy transition. EC² will in particular focus on energy communities as emerging entities within the energy sector and as potentially key actors to promote energy citizenship.  

  • Coordination: Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (Wien)
  • Project head University of Graz: Katja Corcoran
  • 01.05.2021 – 30.04.2024

TeamAo. Univ.-Prof. Ursula Athenstaedt (Institute of Psychology), Univ.-Prof. Katja Corcoran (project head, Institute of Psychology), Univ.-Prof. Iris Eisenberger (Institute of Public Law and Political Science), Univ.-Prof. Brigitta Lurger (Institute of Civil Law, Foreign Private Law and Private International Law), Dipl.-Ing. Annemarie HoferDr. Sebastian Scholz, Mag. Celin Gutschi, Dr. Maria Bertel.

Project partner: Arterra BizimoduBuurkracht Projecten B.V.Comune di ScalengheGlobal Ecovillage Network of EuropeGmina PrusiceHousing Cooperative Wrocław SouthICLEI Local Governments for SustainabilityMunicipality of GroningenTure Nirvane Societa’ Cooperativa Sociale di Comunita’University of GrazUniversity of GroningenUniversity of LeipzigUniwersytet Ekonomiczny we Wrocławiu.

Find more information here.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101022565.

The project deals with legal and ethical questions of datafication of human emotions. In particular, it raises the question of how emotions are to be classified in (data protection) law and how "emotion recognition systems" in the sense of the by the European Commission submitted draft for an Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) are to be evaluated from the point of view of this definition and with regard to the risk-based approach. As it turns out, the "fundamental right to freedom of thought" as well as the question of "common welfare" become relevant in this context, especially when such systems are combined with others, such as scoring models.

Team: Univ. Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Hödl, Univ. Prof. Dr. Thomas Gremsl, Carmen Oberreßl, MA


Exzellenzförderung Smart Regulation / Internally funded project

The H2020 project ETAPAS explores the use of disruptive technologies in public administration. The aim of ETAPAS is to develop a framework for the responsible use of disruptive technologies in the public sector together with representatives of public authorities.

The ETAPAS team at the University of Graz is coordinated by Professor Iris Eisenberger and Professor Tina Ehrke-Rabel.

ETAPAS stands for „Ethical Technology Adaption in Public Administration Services”. The project is coordinated by the Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (Italy) and comprises partners from Italy, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria.

Website: https://www.etapasproject.eu/

Greentech Living Labs as participatory research infrastructures for sustainable energy use

As participatory and user-centred innovation spaces, living labs play a key role in shaping transformation processes in the field of sustainable energy use. Their effectiveness is largely determined by the acceptance and participation of the stakeholders involved. In the sensitive area of intelligent building use, including sustainable living, the confluence of Big Data, networked IoT technology and highly personal living space in the interplay of different particular interests creates a highly complex field of tension.

Against this background, the GreenTechLab project is developing practically implementable standards for the design of the legal, organisational and technical framework of Open Data-oriented Living Labs for sustainable energy use for residential and office buildings. As a comprehensive 360° concept, the developed design standards form the basis for the planned construction of a third-generation Living Lab as a central component of networked Smart City solutions.

Project leader: Univ.-Prof. Matthias Wendland

Cooperation: Univ.-Prof. Katja Corcoran

Team: Dr. Kathrin Röderer, Mag. Katinka Munz


The goal of the project  IDEAS (Innovative Data Environment @ Styria) is to create a Styrian reference model for the collaborative use of larger data sets, including first approaches of a demonstrator and a concept for a comprehensive and sustainable data infrastructure. The project is to be implemented in a bottom-up approach together with Styrian clusters and relevant organizations as well as interest groups from the business community in order to promote cooperation between industry and universities. The overall goal is to strengthen the Styrian university sector and the Styrian economic area as well as to significantly increase the visibility of Styria in the field of Data Science on an European level.

Further information can be found on the Innovative Data Environment @ Styria Website of TU Graz.

Project partner: Human Factor in Digital Transformation, University of Technology Graz, FH JOANNEUM and Medical University of Graz.

Project head at University of GrazUniv.-Prof. Thalmann Stefan

I-GReta: Intelligent FIWARE-based Generic Energy Storage Services for Environmentally Responsible Communities and Cities

Climate change is the most critical question of our time. The energy sector accounts for roughly two-thirds of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions due to the fossil dominance of energy sources. Globally, residential energy use constitutes one fourth of the energy used. The development of the energy sector towards the goal of sustainability has led to the increasing amount of intermittent renewable energy-based power production, power electronic based devices and energy storages on all levels in the power system.

In recent years, technical and socio-economic studies, as well as hands-on experience, have concluded that the integration and participation of end-users are crucial. The I-GReta solution will address the deficiencies of contemporary energy systems, which lack technologies enabling active user participation as well as a sufficient degree of interconnection and interoperability to satisfy individual and partly conflicting needs.

The core innovation of the I-GReta project is its unique interplay of human-centred automation, cloud-based ICT platforms and dynamic storage integration. The Austrian partners will mainly contribute methodological expertise in the field of psychological and technical aspects of active user participation in smart energy systems with high shares of storages of different energy carriers. Furthermore, they provide mathematical and computational methods to enable large-scale modelling, simulation and optimization of cyber-physical systems.

The goal of the project is to design and develop a prototype of an inter-regional energy system demonstrating a possible way to successfully transform our energy systems towards human-centred and renewable, service-oriented energy supply. Prototypical developments will be tested and evaluated under laboratory conditions in Kapfenberg and Graz in the “Energy and Solutions Lab”.

Duration: Dec 2020 – Nov 2023

Funding (Austria): FFG – The Austrian Research Promotion Agency

Project leader: Univ.-Prof. Antonello Monti, Ph.D. or. Mag.phil. Dr.techn. Gerald Schweiger, MA, MA (for Austria)

Cooperations: RWTH Aachen Universityaedifion GmbHE.ON SEFH JOANNEUM KapfenbergGraz University of Technologydwh GmbHUniversity of GrazCAMPUS 02 Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft GmbHEVON GmbHWEB Windenergie AGPolitehnica University of BucharestSiv Electro Concept SRLGreenitiativeEnergoBit SAHSB Göteborg ekonomisk föreningChalmers University of TechnologyÖrebroporten Fastigheter AB

Project head at University of Graz: Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Psych. Dr.phil. Katja Corcoran

The Disciplinary Role of Stakeholders

The extent of money laundered is expected to account for about 4% of world GDP. Therefore, many countries have tried to protect their financial systems against money laundering by more stringently regulating and supervising their financial institutions. In recent years, many internationally operating banks involved in money laundering or violating regulatory rules have been identified. This project aims at drawing a landscape of the most significant stakeholders involved in and affected by infractions of Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) rules, and the prevention thereof. The perspectives in four empirical analyses range from stakeholders (regulators, bank shareholders and clients of banks) who have a role in curtailing AML infractions and fostering sound operational risk management, to competing banks which might be affected by the misbehavior of other banks, and finally to the role of (social) media in disseminating news about AML infractions. 

Duration: 01.10.2022-31.03.2026

Investor: Jubiläumsfonds der OeNB (Österr. Nationalbank)

Project head: Univ.-Prof. Andrea Schertler

The core objective of the two-year project “Justice without Litigation for Europe” (JuWiLi) is an in-depth analysis of non-contentious judicial proceedings in the participating countries, against the background of the term “court” in EU instruments.

Project partners are the chambers of notaries of Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Slovakia and Slovenia, the Universities of Vienna (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karl Stöger), and Graz, the Economic Research Institute Economia and the Council of Notaries of the European Union (CNUE).

This project is funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014-2020).

Project head at University of GrazUniv.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Lurger LL.M. (Harvard) 

Knowledge Risks in Industry 4.0 Supply Chains: A Legal and Technical Perspective in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Johannes Zollner

The cross-organizational exchange of data within the framework of digitization not only offers many advantages but also involves new risks. In particular, the risk of unintentional disclosure of competition-critical knowledge within the framework of data exchange has to be emphasized.  The disclosed knowledge could be used by partners in the supply chain for their own benefit.

However, since the knowledge advantage is a - if not the - decisive competitive advantage for many companies, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this risk must be assessed as substantial. Together with the Institute of Corporate and International Commercial Law, the protection of knowledge in cross-organizational supply chains is investigated.

The following questions are considered from both a legal and a technical perspective: Which legal measures and instruments are available to minimize the risk of improper data use? To what extent can existing technical measures be applied or adapted for these data-driven collaborations? And to what extent is an interaction of legal and technical measures possible and useful?

The project has a duration of 4 years and started on 01.06.2019.

Project team members:

Thalmann, Stefan, Prof. Dr.

Zeiringer, Johannes, BSc MSc

The labelling project deals with electricity labelling and the related role of the consumer from a legal and business perspective. In recent years, it has become increasingly important for consumers to purchase "green" electricity. For this reason, energy labelling and in particular electricity identification should enable the consumer to assess from which sources the energy he or she is buying comes. This should also enable a conscious and informed purchase decision.

However, legal arguments and backgrounds usually play hardly any role in the purchase decision of customers, but all the more so the product characteristics and expectations of the product anchored in the customer's mind by marketing instruments. In the business part of the labelling project, surveys and interviews will be conducted to find out to what extent consumers are aware of the legal regulation of labelling and, if so, how this awareness influences their purchasing behaviour. The aspects of whether customers are prepared to pay more for clean electricity or green gas in relation to the actual origin of the electricity or gas should also be included. The labelling project aims to contribute to whether consumers feel misled by the existing labelling schemes.

Project team: Univ.-Prof. Thomas Foscht, Univ.-Prof. Karl StögerMag. Julia Mandl

Sustainability plays an increasingly important role in society and the political debate. In addition to environmental factors, sustainability also includes social factors and good corporate governance, such as human rights and the prevention of corruption and bribery.

In the Paris Agreement of 2015, most countries agreed to limit global warming well below 2 degrees in this century. As a result, the EU developed the European Green Deal in 2019 to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.

Companies have to make a significant contribution to the EU's sustainability goals. Part of the EU’s strategy is to increase companies’ transparency. The reasoning behind this is that increased transparency should lead to a change in corporate behavior. This effect can be triggered, among other things, by pressure from the capital and product markets. In recent years, the EU has developed many transparency rules for companies. Currently, the EU develops even stricter rules and works on European standards for sustainability reporting.

Unfortunately, there is currently little theoretical foundation for sustainability reporting. However, the current legal initiatives can only be crowned with success if the regulation developed is smart. Since there are few empirical studies because sustainability reporting has only recently become mandatory for companies, a theoretical foundation is of utmost importance.

This research project aims to close this gap. Based on mathematical and game-theoretical modeling, we aim to develop a better understanding of the economic mechanisms and also possible unintentional effects. On the one hand, our results will help predict the economic effects of future regulation. On the other hand, the results may serve politicians and standard setters.

Duration: 07.01.2022 - 06.01.2026

Project head: Univ.-Prof. Georg Schneider  TeamUniv.-Prof. Alfred Wagenhofer, Univ.-Prof. Ralf Ewert, Univ.-Prof. Michael Kopel

Center for Accounting Research

Funding: FWF

The aim of this project is to gain clear insights on taxpayer behavior in the SME-sector and to propose measures to (newly) regulate tax enforcement with regard to small and medium-sized enterprises. In this context, it is particularly important to strike a balance between effectiveness and efficiency on the one hand and adequate protection of the individual’s freedom on the other. In concrete terms, the present project aims at exploring options and creating synergies by means of interdisciplinary cooperation. Within the framework of a follow-up project (with an even broader interdisciplinary set-up), further third-party funding shall be acquired to conceptualize an innovative tax enforcement strategy for the SME sector that can be implemented in Austria and serve as an inspiration and a model for other countries.

04/2022 – 03/2023

Project head: Assoz.-Prof. Dr. Barbara Gunacker-Slawitsch (Institut für Finanzrecht) & Univ.-Prof. Dr. Katja Corcoran (Institut für Psychologie)

Project partner: Assoz.-Prof. Dr. Robert Rybnicek (Institut für Unternehmensführung und Entrepreneurship)

Exzellenzförderung Smart Regulation / Internally funded project

A current trend for tax legislators is to oblige third parties to collect taxes on behalf of the “original” taxpayer. Indirect taxes such as VAT are an example of committing persons who shall not bear the tax-burden to collect taxes in order to ease controls and to prohibit tax fraud. A recent development considered to tackle the enforcement failures with regard to the digital economy is to further rely on third parties such as digital platforms. From an economic perspective this project aims at understanding the effects of the involvement of third parties at different levels in raising tax revenue, because third parties have their own objectives and incentives. From a legal perspective the increased involvement of third parties into tax collection and enforcement changes the traditional relationship between the taxpayer and the tax administration by shifting the responsibilities.

Procect head: Univ.-Prof. Rainer Niemann, in cooperation with Univ.-Prof. Tina Ehrke-Rabel and Univ.-Prof. Alfred Wagenhofer. Project member: Stefanie, Pendl MSc.

Trust me: Trust in humanoid robots within the work context

Robots have been introduced into industrial working environments decades ago to execute tasks that were impossible or unreasonable for human workers. Robots are lifting heavy objects, do repetitious factory tasks and work under dangerous conditions. Due to technical advances, robots are evolving from specialized tools to independent agents, who can work together in collaboration with human employees. As robots and humans will increasingly work side by side, a theoretical ground for successful human-robot-collaboration is needed.
Considering human teams, it has been shown that trust is an important variable that defines the success of a collaboration. If a team consists of both humans and robots, an adaptation of the interpersonal trust term is needed.

Our project aims for a clearer view on how humans can trust a robot in the work environment and how they can work together successfully. To reach that goal, we will collaborate with humanoid robot Pepper (Softbank Robotics).
Our main research questions concern the following topics:
1. What does trust mean in the context of human-robot collaboration?
2. How can we measure and operationalize trust in human-robot collaboration?
3. Which factors influence trust in human-robot collaboration?
We plan on answering these questions through theoretical works and empirical studies.

Funding: PBB Smart Regulation

Project leadership: Univ.-Prof. MMag. Dr. Bettina Kubicek Doctoral candidate: Agnes Altmanninger, BSc. MSc.

Cooperation partners: Univ. Prof. DDr. Reinhold Esterbauer (Institut für Philosophie an der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät), Univ.-Prof. Dr. Katja Corcoran (Arbeitsbereich Sozialpsychologie), Ass.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Hans-Walter Ruckenbauer (Institut für Philosophie an der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät)


Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.iur.

Johannes Zollner


Corporate and International Commercial Law

Phone:+43 316 380 - 6607

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Kfm. Dr.rer.pol.

Rainer Niemann


Institute of Accounting and Taxation

Phone:+43 316 380 - 6444


Maria Fanta

Science Communication & Research Management
Phone:+43 316 380 - 3335

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