Researching "Grand Challenges" - A "Grand Challenge"

Mertens P, Barbian D (2015)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Review article

Publication year: 2015


Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)

Book Volume: 57

Pages Range: 391-403

Journal Issue: 6

Open Access Link:


Attempts have been made to identify the grand challenges (GC) in quite different disciplines including Computer Science. These major problems should be solved within one or two generations and the solution would have great societal and economic impact. GCs are to be distinguished from the improvement of methods where the basic problem has already been solved (‘‘emerging fields’’). Among other purposes, a common understanding of GCs
within a community helps to focus efforts and resources and to create a climate of competition. With our study we try to gain an impression whether a certain consensus is within reach in Business and Information Systems Engineering (BISE; Wirtschaftsinformatik, WI) in the German speaking area. We used a multi-staged opinion survey among scientists and practitioners of WI and could establish an order of precedence concerning the most important
GCs. At the top ranks the item ‘‘Control of systemic risks in global networks’’, followed by ‘‘Humanlike Information Systems in business context’’, ‘‘Determining the influences
on the degree of automation und integration’’, ‘‘Influence of WI on the solution of semantic data processing problems’’, and ‘‘Overcoming of communication barriers in inter-company integration’’. We discuss drawbacks of the GC concept as well as attempts to improve the method. One main problem is to distinguish the terms ‘‘grand challenges’’ (GC), ‘‘emerging fields’’ (EF), and ‘‘new research goals’’ (NR).

Authors with CRIS profile

Related research project(s)

How to cite


Mertens, P., & Barbian, D. (2015). Researching "Grand Challenges" - A "Grand Challenge". Business & Information Systems Engineering, 57(6), 391-403.


Mertens, Peter, and Dina Barbian. "Researching "Grand Challenges" - A "Grand Challenge"." Business & Information Systems Engineering 57.6 (2015): 391-403.

BibTeX: Download