Upper Franconia inspires ERNACT members for upcoming digital transformation initiatives

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Network members convene in Hof for the first Interregional Management Committee of 2024 to share and benefit from Hof University’s research expertise.
14 March 2024 - ERNACT  project

The ERNACT network successfully held its first Interregional Management Committee (IMC) meeting of 2024 in Hof, Germany, on the 5th and 6th of March. Hosted by Hof University of Applied Sciences, the event marked the first ERNACT gathering in the Upper Franconia region.

Professor Dr.-Ing Valentin Plenk welcomed members to Hof University of Applied Sciences and showcased the University’s research initiatives. Mayor of Hof, Angelika Bier, presented Upper Franconia's cultural, economic, and heritage highlights.

The bi-annual IMC meeting provides a platform for ERNACT regions and cities to strategise on leveraging digital transformation cooperation. New digital technology projects for the forthcoming year were discussed and current network operations were reviewed. "This meeting enables us to collaborate with ERNACT members and experts to identify potential projects for EU funding," explained Dr Caitriona Strain, ERNACT General Manager.

Learning from German digital transformation expertise

A highlight of the event was a "project speed dating" session facilitated by Anne-Christine Habbel and Katrin Müller. This session fostered exchange on topics such as digital healthcare, Industry 5.0, smart energy, data-driven sustainable tourism and cultural heritage, and smart planning for digital twins. "The aim was to deepen our international collaboration efforts and explore feasible projects with our international guests," said Anne Christine Habbel.

IMC members had the opportunity to explore the University’s facilities and meet Prof. Dr. Stefan Wengler and Sarah Mohr of the 'Empirical Research and User Experience' group. Some members even tried out interactive tools such as driving simulators. Dr. Harvey Harbach shared insights on Hof University's aquaponics plant and, Prof. Dr. René Peinl, scientific head of the Institute for Information Systems, showcased the university’s AI and VR research expertise.

The visit included a tour of the local Start-Up Centre, which is embedded in the regional innovation ecosystem and closely works with the university, with network manager Uwe Kühnel, a lab tour with engineers Martin Thoß and Natalie Koch, and the Maker Space with engineer René Göhring, where participants learned about cutting age 3D printing, laser cutting, and engineering initiatives. Katrin Müller, EU network manager at the university, explains that "the interactive Maker Space enables all university employees and students to experiment with 3D printing and laser cutting to improve their engineering skills".

ERNACT staff are now analysing the latest insights and developing new digital transformation proposals and initiatives. Stay tuned!

Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT for further information

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Core ERNACT regions
Newfoundland & Labrador
South Ostrobothnia
Upper Franconia
West Romania
Derry & Strabane
United Kingdom