Digitalisation of the manufacturing industry needs awareness campaigns

Posted on 12/10/16.

Digitalisation and new technologies can help in reforming the industry. Photo: Flickr cc, Basf

How the to get the manufacturing industry to innovate and on the road towards digitalisation?

The University of Vaasa research group called SC-Research is currently doing an international comparative study about this topical issue. Preliminary results show that the manufacturing industry both in the United States and in Finland would benefit from raising awareness of digitalization and education of new skills. They are seen as vital actions for facilitating digitalization.

Rector of the University of Vaasa, SC-Research Research Group Director Jari Kuusisto presented the research project iREN and preliminary results yesterday in the STOA workshop in Brussels. STOA (The Science and Technology Options Assessment) panel is a committee of members of the European Parliament devoted to all issues related to science and technology assessment.

The SC Research is carrying joint research with international partners in Finland, the United States, Austria and Germany. The research project is called iREN (International Survey on Manufacturing Renewal and Digitalization). Kuusisto says the analysis will provide valuable new information on the ongoing industrial renewal and digitalisation.

“The purpose of the research is to produce insights and country comparisons that can be invaluable for businesses and policy makers in addressing industrial renewal related challenges”, he says.

The research aims to increase understanding of the industrial renewal phenomena and forces driving the change. It also aims to provide in-depth understanding of industrial- and innovation policies and practices in Austria, Finland, Germany and the U.S.A.

“In order to maintain the industry to survive and grow, it needs to regenerate. Industrial production is due to the globalization been declining for several years in Finland, and the United States. Digitalisation and new technologies can help in reforming the industry”, says Kuusisto.

However, the problem is the fact that the renewal of the manufacturing industry is not a painless process and can cause harm to the existing manufacturing sector.

Preliminary results from Finland and the United States show that raising awareness of digitalization and education of new skills are seen as vital actions for facilitating digitalization in both countries.

“In the United States, ensuring cyber security and interoperability through standardisation are also considered relevant. In Finland important future actions are concrete public support, collaboration between large firms and SMEs or start-ups and promoting an experimentation culture.”

The two-year iREN project has been granted funding from Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes. The project has a budget of EUR 375 000. The partners of the research projects are the University of Vaasa (Finland), the University Industry Demonstration Partnership (USA), RWTH Aachen and the Technology and Innovation Management Group (Germany) and FFG and TMG (Austria).

Further information: Rector Jari Kuusisto, University of Vaasa, tel. +358 29 449 8291, jari.kuusisto(at)uva.fi

 

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