News image
Past is Prologue: The making-of the Summer School
by Egoitz Pomares | 25.06.2019

Our first European semester has culminated with the Summer School that we have organised in June in Donostia-San Sebastian. This is a insider's view. An approach to how the Summer School has been designed. For that purpose, the reader will find some extract of the interviews and talks I have had with Steven Dhondt (scientific coordinator), Peter Oeij (project coordinator) and Chris Warhurst (co-director). As co-directors, the main idea we have discussed and shared amongst the four of us must be found in the need of creating new concepts, definitions, methodologies and theories. How to combine different types of knowledges has been an important aspect of “Work and Welfare in the Digital Age: What we know and what more we need to know”.

In a three-day event the programme has combined scientific sessions, dialogues with policy-makers, but also practical sessions such as visits to companies, and the presentation of posters by PhD students. A determining aspect has been on the participation of Technequality and PLUS colleagues, both sister-projects of the H2020 Program. The identification of shared interests but also of differences and diversity of approaches has been very positive in our meetings and joint workshops and roundtables.

Throughout the three days, we were able to go out and visit companies. The practical aspect, knowing the challenges and opportunities that organisations face has been very enriching. In a similar way, policy sessions on the design and development of public policies has been also interesting. Through a dialogue, the Government of Gipuzkoa, which also hosted the event, explained the importance of aspects such as learning, innovation and the participation of workers.

Steven Dhondt reviews this and other issues in the following video:

The School, in addition to serve as a forum for  the generation of a new research agenda, has also contributed to other purposes. For those of us who are part of BEYOND4.0, the School has served to integrate knowledge and share advances we have made. The course has also served to combine two generations of research and researchers. BEYOND4.0 has a commitment to young researchers from the European Research Area. Students and young researchers have been able to work with new empirical evidence about Industry4.0, but also to learn how to best use of quantitative and qualitative analysis methodologies. However, probably the most relevant aspect has been related to the development of new concepts and ideas about the impact on work and well-being in the digital age. Chris explains it in depth:

But, what's so special about Summer School? Throughout the three days I have been able to speak with professors and students who have come from different parts of Europe. Monique Ramioul (head of research) and Ezra Dessers (research manager) at HIVA institute of KU Leuven have told us their experience. HIVA carries out scientific policy-oriented research. Together with a group of researchers with different research topics related to digital transformation they explained the type of approach they are developing at Paradigms 4.0, a project that investigates the impact of key enabling technologies. The interactive nature of the event has been another great ingredient. And the participative character and attitude of student is something that needs to be remarked.

Another aspect to highlight has been the public side, in particular the design and development of territorial and regional policies. The role of the regions is a central aspect in BEYOND4.0. Gipuzkoa, cradle of the cooperative movement, is a pioneer in the promotion of the social economy and policies for the promotion of participation and learning. Joseba Amondarain, head of the service of promotion of knowledge (Department of Economic Promotion, Government of Gipuzkoa) explains, from his experience, the impressions on reality 4.0 and public action. There is often a discussion about the distance between research and policy making. Evidence based policy is another key areas of interest for BEYOND4.0. The next video captures some of the key messages and lesson from Gipuzkoa. In particular is aspect related to lifelong learning and workplace innovation.

It has been a great experience to meet old and new friends to reflect beyond the 4.0 thing. I am very much looking for our next Summer School. It will be held in 2021. In a two years period we will have more to insight, share and transform. Stay tuned: subscribe to our newsletter and social media.