International Research Visit

ESB Business School integrates visiting scientists from Ukraine into its education and research network

By Agnieszka Grzesiak

Strong networks and cooperation with colleagues from all over the world are a tradition at ESB Business School’s Werk150. For example, visiting researchers from the Ukrainian Kyiv School of Economy have currently found a new academic home here. Now, as part of the SUNRUNNER project, further international guests, the project partners from the South African Stellenbosch University, have visited Reutlingen. During a research visit, the international group, together with Prof. Dr -Ing. Vera Hummel, head of SUNRUNNER, have further expanded their network.   

The researchers from South Africa and Ukraine visited various partners of the International Association of Learning Factories (IALF). Professor Hummel, as Vice-President, heads the network of 25 research institutes with learning factories.

The journey began at the TU Darmstadt with a visit to the learning factories there – the Process Learning Factory CiP, headed by Prof. Dr -Ing. Joachim Metternich, the ETA factory, headed by Prof. Dr -Ing. Matthias Weigold, as well as the concept presentation of the Flow Factory currently under construction.

The second stop on the journey was the campus of the University of Twente in Enschede in the Netherlands, with its various workshops and laboratories, which are used intensively in the Master’s and Bachelor’s programmes as well as in research. The group was welcomed and guided by Prof. Dr Eric Lutters from the Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) in the learning factory there – the innovative Virtual and Digital Design Lab in which all laboratories will be brought together in one place from 2023.

The last destination of the educational and research visit was the Ruhr University Bochum and its Chair of Production Systems. In addition to the LPS Learning and Research factory for Industry 4.0, resource efficiency, process optimisation as well as management and organisation, the project group was shown the latest activities of the Smart Systems incubator, the Research Center for the engineering of Smart Product-Service systems (ZESS) as well as innovative projects from the area of robotics and digitisation.

All participants were once again able to convince themselves that learning factories are a suitable learning environment and method for developing vocational action competencies. For the first time the researchers from Ukraine dealt intensively with a topic that was new to them – learning factories and their contents, opportunities, prerequisites and implementation. The partners from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Stellenbosch University took away many impressions and ideas for the further development and expansion of their own learning factory.

During the visits to the IALF partners, intensive discussions took place on future cooperation in education and research, on the further development of learning factories within the context of digitisation, sustainability, Industry 5.0 and new business models, as well as on the transfer into application and practice. As soon as possible, the conception and construction of a learning factory in Kyiv should also become the focus of further work of the participating learning factories, with the aim of supporting the rapid reconstruction of the educational institutions as well as the industry destroyed by the war.  

The following scientists took part in the research visit:

  • Dr. Tetjana Izmilova, Kyiv School of Economics (Ukraine), guest researcher at ESB Business School
  • Dr. Serhiy Hvozdov, Kyiv School of Economics (Ukraine), guest researcher at ESB Business School
  • Prof. Imke de Kock, Stellenbosch University (South Africa), IE departement
  • Konrad von Leipzig, Stellenbosch University (South Arfrica), IE departement