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Research project

Universities develop management skills for digital transformation


As one of four German universities, Dortmund University of Applied Sciences has taken on the leadership of a so-called "Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance". Together with the universities of Bilbao, Kaunas, Leuven and Trondheim, as well as European companies and partner associations, methods are being developed in the "ProDiT" project to teach management skills for digital transformation while still at university. Of course, this is practice-oriented and geared to the needs of the companies.  

Anna Badasian (r.) and Nargiza Mikhridinova are leading the Europe-wide ProDiT project at Dortmund UAS.

"Digital transformation is more than e-mail, chats and the paperless office," says Anna Badasian. She is a research associate at the Institute for the Digitization of Working and Living Environments at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts and a project manager at ProDiT (Projects for the Digital Transformation). Digitization interferes with established processes in all departments of a company. It requires new approaches to management that take into account questions about technologies as well as new forms of organization and build a new mindset. Specifically, what skills do employees need to actively shape the digital transformation? And how can universities better prepare them? 

EU funding of just under one million euros

The ProDiT project is looking for ideas for this. The EU Commission is providing funding of almost one million euros until 2023. "We will analyze the needs in the companies, develop teaching modules and training courses, test them in small groups and improve them further," says Nargiza Mikhridinova, a doctoral student at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts. She has already conducted research on digitization skills in companies and brings her expertise to the project. "ProDiT is also about developing standards to support companies," she emphasizes. Especially at the beginning of digitization projects, she says, there is a great deal of uncertainty about which digitization steps make sense and how the projects can be designed effectively. "Guard rails help prevent undesirable developments here," says the doctoral student. 

ruhrvalley Cluster e.V. as a partner

"This project is particularly interesting for universities of applied sciences because of its transfer and application orientation," says project leader Prof. Dr. Carsten Wolff, professor of computer science at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences. The project specifically addresses the needs of industry and bundles international competencies. In the Ruhr region, the ruhrvalley Cluster e.V. is one of the partners, while Spain, Lithuania and Belgium have joined corresponding innovation associations from the "European Partnership in Project and Innovation Management (EuroPIM)" network. 

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