30 June 2021 | Münster

The Science-to-Society group was honored to host the two-day kick-off meeting as the lead partner of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Project "CSI: CustomDigiTeach". The CSI project is an international collaborative effort of five European partners, including FH Münster University of Applied Sciences (Germany), University of Osijek (Croatia), University of Ljubljana and the Institute for Innovation and Development of the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and Momentum Marketing Services (Ireland).

With the still ongoing pandemic, it is more important than ever to stand together as a society and help and support each other. HEIs are especially important in this regard to engage with society in order to jointly solve some of the new societal challenges such as how to let elderly citizens participate in a socially distant society. Unfortunately, there is a lack of "easy to implement" digital teaching formats as well as an absence of HE lecturers' skills to create societal impact via digital teaching formats. This impedes the pursuit of the third mission.

In response to these challenges, the two-year, transformative consortium aims to create lasting impact for HEIs and society. The project aims to build a digital social impact course generator that adjusts to the digital skill set of the lecturer and social challenge that is to be addressed by the course. For that, the project is integrating the expertise of science-to-society transfer tools (i.e., tools and instruments to overcome transfer barriers in science/society projects and thus to successfully connect science and society) for tailor-fit approaches to create societal impact, and the expertise of how to enable HE lecturers in digital teaching formats. All partners are very experienced in Erasmus+ projects and each contribute their very own strengths (science-to-society engagement, anthropology, creating digital tools, etc.) which are very complementary to achieve this.

The consortium will deliver four intellectual outputs, split in responsibility to the best equipped partner, namely: a Best practice Audit highlighting current digital teaching formats from academics across Europe aimed to create societal impact, the Development of "Digital Societal Impact Generation" Course Toolkit to enable HEI educators to create a custom societal impact course by choosing their preferred best practices in HEI led approaches, activities and topics to achieve societal impact. This is followed by the Piloting of Course Toolkit during which the partner HEIs together with selected social partners test the toolkit and give their feedback which is then being used to refine the digital offering. The last output will be the Development of a "training for scaling workshop concept" which aims to attract further academics and enable them to use the configurator to sustainably spread the projects results on the European level.

From S2BMRC, the interdisciplinary team of the Science-to-Society (S2S) research group, led by Dr. Kerstin Kurzhals, is responsible for the Best practice audit and will carry out the associated research activities. The coordinator of the whole project, also a part of that team, will be Dominik Lappenküper.

With fresh input from the kick-off for current strategic partnership projects in Germany held by the NA DAAD in the previous week, Dominik Lappenküper was able to prepare and lead the kick-off meeting with up-to-date information on methods and required inputs. All partners contributed to productive discussions on the intended project impacts, collaboration arrangements, project structure for implementation, brand creation, as well as the establishment of first work plans for activities regarding the four intellectual outputs.

During the next two years, the CSI consortium will further strengthen the bonds between science and society by improving the collaboration and raising the awareness in relation to digital teaching methods for social impact generating courses at HEIs.

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