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- DESRIST 2024 was a well-organized and successful conference. Participants from all over the world experienced the days as meaningful and the presentations about research as important, says Amir Haj-Bolouri, Associate Professor in Informatics and responsible at University West.

The world of humans has undergone rapid developments of technological innovation during the recent few decades. Consensus exists around the very fact that our modern ways of living and interacting with humans, organizations, and society, is heavily influenced by the implications of digital technologies. At the same time, the challenges of coping with the increasing effect of digital technologies creates incentive for humans, organizations, and society to develop knowledge and skills that make them resilient towards emerging relationships with future digital technologies.

Participants from all over the world

With that framework in mind, around 120 participants from among others Germany, the USA, Sweden, India, South Africa, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland and Australia gathered in Trollhättan to share their research with each other in the recurring conference DESRIST who travel between universities in the world.

The first day began with a Doctoral consortium for the 40 or so doctoral students who participated. Here, new and experienced design science researchers were brought together for a constructive exchange about the works that the doctoral students had submitted, as well as an opportunity for networking. This is what a couple of the doctoral students thought.
- There was a feeling of security in the room and that it was easy to express one's input on an equal level. At the same time as there was an expectation and a demand for us to perform.
- Everyone was open to new contacts.
- As a testbed for ideas

Business and academia

Parallel to this session on the first day, a seminar focused on how academia and business can collaborate even better took place, among other things. There, Jon Eklöf from GKN Aerospace started on the topic "Lived experience from the shopfloor about future industry needs of AI". Among the participants was Emma Wikström, Business Area Manager development Center, Combitech Sweden.
- It is important to interact with academia and find platforms where we can meet, like here. Being able to both talk about your own experiences and listen to others gives a lot.

Keynotes and work-shops

During the three days that the conference took place, doctoral students, researchers and the industry took part in new research from each other, participated in work-shops and were inspired by keynote speakers. First among the three keynote speakers was Mikael Wiberg, Professor of informatics at Umeå University, who spoke on the theme "The Materiality of AI Interactions", among other things about the fourth wave of AI that is soon on its way. Next up was Sandeep Purao, Professor of Computer Information Systems at Bentley University, USA. He spoke on the topic of "Rigor and Impact for Design-oriented Research" and what these factors mean for the design of research. Last out was Christian Döbeln from Tenstar Simulations on the theme "Prepare for Reality - training in the Virtual Training Space".

"One of the best conferences"

One of the first-time participants at DESRIST was Samrat Gupta, Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. He sums up his stay as follows:
- It has been fantastically valuable and one of the best conferences I have been to. We can all find common ground with each other's research and exchange thoughts and ideas and it has been a warm atmosphere.

Amir Haj-Bolouri comments and summarizes:
- There is a general consensus from the participants that the university has both the capacity and talent to organize international conferences of this caliber, which I think is an important and positive signal to take with us.


During Tuesday evening's dinner, the following awards were presented:

  • Best Paper Award: “Designing a Large Language Model based Open Data Assistant for Effective Use” by Till Carlo Schelhorn, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Ulrich Gnewuch, University of Passau, and Alexander Maedche, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Best Student Paper Award: “Wasn’t Expecting That – Using Abnormality as a Key to Design a Novel User-Centric Explainable AI Method” by Tobias Jahn, Philipp Hühn and Maximilian Förster from University of Ulm
  • Best Prototype Paper Award: “Upside Down Dialectics: A system for generating synthetic design conversation” by Alice Cai – Harvard University, Celine Offerman – TU Delft, Shiyan Zhang - Lancaster University Management School, Lydia B. Chilton - Columbia University, and Jeffrey V .Nickerson - Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Jeffrey Parsons, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Contact: Amir Haj-Bolouri, Associate Professor in Informatics, University West, , +46701804709