What is iCom?

The EU-funded project „International Constructive Communication in the Context of ICT“ (iCom) supports the cross-border cooperation between Austria and the Czech Republic from 2011 to 2014. The University of Vienna (represented by the Faculty of Computer Science and the Postgraduate Center) acts as lead partner in the project which was implemented in collaboration with the Masaryk University Brno. The project aimed at higher qualification of education and on building bridges between science and industry. In so-called “Practice-Research Workshops” practitioners and researchers worked on interdisciplinary topics in the field of IT (project) management and communication. The workshops provided the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge across national and professional borders. This supported the knowledge transfer between universities and IT companies, which can be used at universities to generate new inputs for relevant, practice-oriented research topics.

Induced by the two biggest universities in the territorial region, a bilateral offer within the doctorate studies “Informatics” and “Business Informatics” was developed and implemented. The bilateral offer specialized towards part-time students with practical work experience and aimed at increasing the number of higher qualified persons in the job market and in research in both partner regions.  “Employment and the doctorate study should be profitably combinable. The iCom Project helps to connect research, teaching and practice in a way that enables employees, teachers and managers to research on current challenges in IT-projects and generate new knowledge”, stated Renate Motschnig, scientific project lead. IT-professionals had the opportunity to improve their communication competencies in the workshops, get insights in recent research, and share their experience with researchers. By intensively cooperating with industry, the universities were able to include challenges from practice in their research projects. Through the tight cooperation with industry, the University of Vienna further received new impulses for postgraduate qualification programmes. The participative development of continuing education programmes and corporate programmes in the IT field was supported by the Postgraduate Center.  The project „iCom“ was financially funded by the „European Regional Development Fund“ and strengthened the territorial cooperation between the regions Vienna and South Moravia.

Lifelong Learning and Knowledge Transfer
Continuing education increasingly becomes a focal point at universities besides their main tasks of research and teaching. The concept of Lifelong Learning (LLL) is also embedded at the University of Vienna and at the Faculty of Informatics (Masaryk University). Lifelong Learning at both universities is more than continuing education – it is about the inclusion of the entire educational offer, curricular-governed programmes, but also publicly accessible continuing education measures.  The Postgraduate Center (University of Vienna) aims – beside at developing and implementing continuing education programmes – to establish particular LLL projects. Through the increasing awareness of the significance of knowledge transfer, the networks between universities and regional industry, public organizations and institutions as well as other educational institutions gain importance. The Postgraduate Center with its LLL events and projects highly contributes enhancing the discourse in the fields of Lifelong Learning and knowledge transfer. An outstanding example for addressing this LLL strategy was the project iCom.