We believe that the metaverse will transform the way people connect and how businesses grow, and lead to closer social experiences compared to anything that exists online today. But the technologies making the metaverse possible will need to be inclusive and people will need to feel safe in order for them to want to use them. Since no one company will own and operate the metaverse, this will require collaboration and cooperation.
Today, we’re announcing a $2.5 million investment to support independent academic research across Europe to study the risks and opportunities of the metaverse. Through the help of the XR Programs and Research Fund, academics in seven European countries will examine how metaverse technologies will intersect with privacy, safety, inclusion and the future of work.
We believe that the collaboration among industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits and academic institutions can help ensure that the enthusiasm for the metaverse’s potential is accompanied by a focus on developing it responsibly.
We are facilitating independent external research efforts with the following European academics and institutions:
- Prof. Dr. Matthias Quent of Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences (Germany) will study how democratic culture could work in immersive environments and explore civil design of social spaces.
- The Governance and Regulation Chair at the University of Paris Dauphine|PSL (France) will identify and examine the economic and societal challenges of the metaverse and their consequences in terms of regulatory framework and governance.
- Renaissance Numérique (France) will hold a programme of workshops with European and international experts to discuss the social adoption, opportunities and impact of immersive technologies, as well as means to protect users in the metaverse.
- Politecnico di Milano (Italy) will study the economic impact and social value of the metaverse for society and individuals using Italy and its economy as a case study.
- Poznan University of Technology (Poland) will focus on the development of augmented reality and other technologies that can improve the quality of life of people susceptible to social exclusion, due to age, health or their family situation.
- RISE (Sweden) will study two metaverse related topics. It will focus on the global computation and communication infrastructure driving the metaverse in the context of sustainability and resource efficient technology solutions. It will also assess key requirements needed for Sweden to adopt a nationwide immersive education program.
- University of Alicante (Spain) will create an academic chair on the responsible development of the metaverse, to assess whether the existing legal framework ensures that people will be adequately protected and digital entrepreneurs are supported in expanding their business activities. The chair will be managed by Aurelio Lopez-Tarruella, associate professor of private international law and co-director of the research group GIP-Law (UA).
- The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO, the Netherlands) will focus on the future of work. Research will be led by Dr. Omar Aziz Niamut and Dr. Sylvie Dijkstra-Soudarissanane, who will assess if emerging technologies such as social XR reduce disadvantages of remote working. TNO is an independent research organization focused on developing innovative solutions that boost the competitive strength of industry and well-being of society.
- We will partner with the VR researcher Mel Slater, who will facilitate idea sharing between these recipients in order to foster interdisciplinary dialogue on the metaverse in Europe.
The metaverse is in the early stages of development, but collaborating across industry, the public sector, academia and civil society can help us progress on these new technologies as they are being built.