Dr Paško Bilić is the principal investigator of a new research project called Digital Data, Infrastructures and Development (DEVELOPER). The project is financed by the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ) as part of the Research Projects competition (IP-2022-10). From 31 December 2023 until 30 December 2027, this interdisciplinary social science project will investigate the institutional, organisational and everyday dimensions of digitisation in the social development of the Republic of Croatia. The research team consists of eleven researchers from various institutions, including the Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Political Science and Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Rijeka, Department of Sociology of the University of Zadar and the Multimedia Institute in Zagreb. Young researchers will be employed during the project.


Digital data circulated through internet platforms, smartphones, and other devices have become the source of intense commercial activity and public infrastructure advancement in developed countries. Data is an essential input for algorithms, enabling the construction of artificial intelligence with the help of machine learning and natural language processing while replacing manual, time-consuming data management and providing new analytical insights. As more data becomes available in digital formats, it is often said to be the driver of economic growth and well-being. However, economic and social development is not a straightforward implementation of computational techniques but a process dependent on multiple social factors. Understanding the role of data in society has been the focus of intense debate in infrastructure studies, critical data studies and platform studies. The DEVELOPER project will provide an interdisciplinary social science analysis. It aims to examine the role of digital data in society at the level of institutions (law and markets), organisations (private and public), and the everyday life of citizens. We will move away from utopian or dystopian visions of (big) data and empirically explore factors that foster or hinder the development of data infrastructures, including their role in producing private and public wealth. The Project will follow an exploratory, sequential, mixed-methods research design to understand norms, values, experiences, and practices attributed to digital data and data infrastructures. It will advance knowledge in the scientific community and provide a better understanding of data infrastructures in the post-socialist economic periphery of the European Union. Assessments based on empirical research will further develop strategic plans outlined by the European Commission and the Croatian National Development Strategy, foster regulatory oversight, improve organisational and working conditions, and include citizens in digital services.


  • Explore how digital data is regulated and valorised in law and markets
  • Explore experiences of working with data in private and public organisations
  • Investigate the role of data in the everyday life of citizens
  • Consolidate findings to understand the role of data in the development
  • Provide policy recommendations for the development of data infrastructures

Team members: 

  • Dr Paško Bilić, Institute for Development and International Relations, Zagreb (PI)
  • Dr Krešimir Krolo, Department of Sociology, University of Zadar
  • Dr Tomislav Medak, Multimedia Institute, Zagreb
  • Dr Iva Nenadić, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb
  • Dr Antonija Petričušić, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
  • Dr Jaka Primorac, Institute for Development and International Relations, Zagreb
  • Dr Ivan Puzek, Department of Sociology, University of Zadar
  • Dr Toni Prug, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka
  • Dr Mislav Žitko, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb
  • Dr Tanja Vučković Juroš, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb
  • Dr Valentina Vučković, Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb
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