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Project details


iCom engages academic staff, doctoral students and representatives from industry, in particular from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and from schools of the border region between Austria and the Czech Republic in cooperatively developing advanced communication competences in the context of ICT. We consider constructive communication to be a precondition for forming well-functioning relationships and a key to the “health” and success in business and education. Hence we aim to support persons in becoming more conscious, knowledgeable and competent in the art, attitude, practice and research of constructive, international communication and to empower them to act as multipliers in passing-on their competences to their colleagues and partners. Furthermore, we aim to set up the structures and processes supported by the EU territorial cooperation funds in a way to sustain and to expand. To achieve this:




The primary objective is to improve internal and external communication in the context of information and communication technology. In particular, to:
  • cooperatively develop and conduct 4 attractive doctoral courses offering experiential learning
  • conduct at least 8 practice/research workshops that will reach about 60 participants from at least 20 businesses or educational institutions of the border region
  • produce a web-application for cooperative work and sharing among participants
  • grow as a team and expand our own competences in effective listening, articulation, dialoging and building a shared vision while educating multipliers who will pass on their knowledge and competences to colleagues and students (about 600 per year)
  • disseminate research results in at least 4 international conferences, journals, and a book
  • initiate sustainable structures, relationships, and processes. These become visible e.g. in the continuation of the practice/research workshops after the 2nd year of the project, in further cooperation between the Universities, in international educational offerings.
  • propose 2 follow-up projects
  • strengthen the role of the Universities as mediators of life-long, postgraduate learning and as partners for profit- and non-profit organizations

Keys to Success

  • Constructive communication and successful, inspirational cooperation in the iCom team and their partners
  • Quality content, process, and web-presence.
  • Engaged doctoral students, partners, and representatives from industry and educational organizations
  • Executive support by the Universities and authorities of the European Union Territorial cooperation
  • Not becoming buried in buerocratic procedures

Outcomes and Activities

Doctoral supplementary program consisting of 4 courses aimed to support students working on theses that generate knowledge and find solution-paths in the context of practical problems and professional competences related to ICT.

Series of 8 bilateral practice/research workshops as mediators between academia, industry and educational institutions as a forum for cooperative sharing, learning and knowledge creation.

Virtual communication. The iCom web-site (http://www.icomproject.eu) is set up as a simple interactive site under GoogleSites and interlinked with the web-sites of the Masaryk University, University of Vienna (Postgraduate Center and Faculty of Computer Science) AT-CZ-site, and various web-sites of affiliate partners such as ALE, CERIT, Brno CEP group, NSM Cluster, etc.). Primary personas are representatives from industry (SMEs), educational institutions, students (at doctoral and master level), representatives from the AT-CZ authorities and the scientific and organizational members of the iCom team. Furthrmore, the project team will use Google Docs for cooperatively working on documents and presentations.

Professionals to act as multipliers in passing-on advanced communication competences in the context of ICT.


Market analysis and state-of-the-art

It is assumed that SMEs typically lack resources and deep knowledge for human resource development. Also, their concentration on their core businesses does not allow them to track research findings, to gain a broader view on problems, and to systematically interconnect with others, in particular internationally, for mutual benefit. Hence, networked learning in the sense of cooperatively creating solution-strategies to upcoming challenges as well as highly relevant research questions is deemed to fill a gap in the present repertoire of postgraduate education and life-long learning.

In the academic sector, a bilateral doctoral programme in the area of computer science does not exist yet, despite the fact that a bilateral supervision of doctoral (and masters) students has already started. This shows that the motto “together we’ll gain/reach more” at the most advanced levels of education is already being lived and opens doors for more.

 The project is unique in several respects, including:

  • Its effort to establish links between academia, industry and educational institutions at the level of bilateral doctoral studies and by conducting interactive workshops.
  • Its foundation in a humanistic approach to interpersonal communication and learning organizations in the age of the internet.
  • Its means to engage participants in establishing and nourishing communities/networks for authentic, experiential learning and knowledge construction in the communication-challenges encountered by participants. This will happen through dialoging and cooperating in loosely structured face-to-face settings and through employing new media. Participants are going to gradually become more empowered and successful in their work, research, and interpersonal relationships and to carry on and expand the structures and offerings initiated through iCom .

Strategy, Management and Implementation

  • Set-up of partnering project teams at the Universities
  • Establishing initial common understanding, communication paths, and agreeing on next steps in a kick-off meeting
  • Iterative design of the interactive iCom web-site
  • Iterative and cooperative development of the iCom “business plan”, based on the project proposal
  • Affiliate relationships with partners
  • Designing and realizing the Doctoral courses strategy and content
  • Designing and realizing practice/research workshop strategy and content


Sustainability/Revenue Plan
It is assumed that doctoral students of MUNI and UNIVIE will continue to be able to participate in doctoral courses at the partner universities due to a cooperation agreement between the two universities being in place since several years. Regarding the practice/research workshops the idea is that industry representatives will perceive them as valuable and worthy of being carried on. Organizations are expected to support universities in conducting them or they will take turns in organizing networking events for cooperative learning and knowledge creation. The iCom web-site and book are expected to reach yet more persons and organizations and to motivate them to establish “satellite communities”. Furthermore, iCom is expected to generate follow-up postgraduate learning opportunities at the Universities and project proposals for continued and expanded cooperation with neighboring nations.


SWOT Analysis
  • Unique and innovative approach to human resource development and knowledge creation
  • Cooperative, bilateral kind of “group supervision of lived practices and challenges in face-to face and virtual encounters”
  • Dedicated people
  • High relevance: Communication as a key success factor
  • In tune with objectives of the territorial cooperation strategies
  • Customer oriented setting and networking
  • Clear objectices and potential for continuation
  • Improve regional businesses and education on the basis of constructive communication as a rewarding quality and intrinsic value
  • Create cooperative structures (business and educational) that sustain, deliver mutual benefits, and increase competitiveness on the market and in research
  • Strengthen the image and publicity of the region and its institutions
  • Follow-up projects (EFRE and others)
  • Increase mobility in the region
  • Confirm the impact of the Person-Centered Approach on constructive communication, teamwork, and learning/knowledge communities
  • Develop innovative research approaches in the context of constructive communication
  • International publications and contacts
  • Quite general and broad theme
  • Number of persons/organizations to be directly reached in workshops is limited
  • Scientific success is hard to measure precisely
  • Needs time to produce results since deep communication competences needs time to unfold
  • Insufficient support
  • Transfer of communication competences doesn’t work out well
  • Lack of interest or time from industry and/or educational institutions

We appreciate your interest and the trust and support we’re receiving from the partnering universities and, in particular, the territorial AT-CZ cooperation programme under the motto: together we’ll reach more. This, indeed is motivating for putting out ideas into practice and research guided by a humanistic value base.


Let’s build this thing together, nothing’ gonna stop us now.