HomeNewsNWO grant for research into learning communities to accelerate digital transformation

NWO grant for research into learning communities to accelerate digital transformation

The NWO has awarded a grant of one million euros to research by main applicant Professor Maaike Endedijk of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences at the University of Twente. The CLIC-IT research project focuses on accelerating the digital transformation via learning communities.

Learning communities bring together companies and knowledge institutions to learn, work and innovate together. The research must lead to better methods and tools to support this. The project will run for four years and start after the summer of 2022.

A large number of parties are involved in the project. Saxion University, Hanze University Groningen, Fontys University and Windesheim University are co-applicants. In addition, thirteen starting and established learning communities are participating, in which more than 500 companies and eight knowledge institutions are united. The Centre for Security and Digitalisation and the Garden of Kairos, among others, are affiliated. Ten national and regional partners contribute expertise to put the results into practice.

The impact of digital transformation

Digital developments such as Artificial Intelligence influence our daily work and life. They enable new solutions to major social issues, but also require a lot of new knowledge and skills from the employees who have to work with it in a responsible way. Moreover, the digital transformation also requires organisations to innovate their products and services. All in all, a major challenge: how can organisations and their (future) employees be equipped to respond to and drive these innovations?

Learning communities

There is a pressing demand for new solutions to support continuous learning and innovation in the work environment. The complexity and speed of technological innovations imply that organisations cannot do this alone and are looking for collaboration with other organisations and knowledge institutions. In recent years, therefore, learning communities (LCs) have emerged in various top sectors: hubs, field labs, expertise centres, etc. These LCs often face the same issues: How do we keep all partners involved? How do we achieve shared goals and results? Or how do we ensure that partners learn from each other in an equal way?

Effective learning, collaboration and innovation

The research therefore aims to evaluate the working mechanisms of LCs and gain insights into how organisations and people learn, collaborate and innovate effectively. Obviously, in the context of the participating LCs working on challenges related to digital transformation. Furthermore, it will be investigated how these insights can lead to methods and tools to support these learning, collaboration and innovation processes in LCs. All this will be brought together in a Learning Community Incubator: an online environment where LCs can get support to work, learn and innovate more effectively in order to accelerate digital transformation.


Lead applicant: Prof.Dr. M. D. Endedijk (University of Twente).

Co-applicants: Dr S. Corporaal and Dr J.M. Linssen (Saxion University of Applied Sciences), Dr P. Papadopoulos and Dr B.J. Kollöffel (University of Twente), Dr H.A.M. van Lieshout and Dr D.M. Degens (Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen), Dr M. Thunnissen (Fontys University of Applied Sciences) and Dr J. Lappia (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences).

Participating Learning Communities: Samenwerking Noord; Ai4agri, Applied AI in Livestock Farming; Technohub Inclusive Technology Apeldoorn; Boost AI of the Development Agency Oost-Nederland; SPARC; Garden of Kairos, Applied AI Labs, Centre for Security and Digitalisation, 5Groningen, HBO-ICT Learning Communities of the Christelijke Hogeschool Ede; Digital Literacy Coalition; Techniekpact Twente; CyberSecurity Noord-Nederland.

Other partners: Van Haren Learning Solutions; Stichting Platform Talent voor Technologie (Katapult); Alledaags; TechYourFuture; Dutch AI Coalition; Social and Economic Council; IT Academy Noord-Nederland, Stichting Game Industrie Noord-Nederland; Eindhoven Engine; National Smart Industry Agenda.

prof.dr. M.D. Endedijk (Maaike)
Adjunct Professor
J.C. Vreeman (Jochem)
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