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Catching up with BISCI: ambitious agenda to create digital and sustainable supply chain innovation

Set up by Maastricht University and the Province of Limburg in early 2019, the Brightlands Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (BISCI) drives state-of-the art digital and sustainable supply chain innovation, combining expertise from knowledge institutions, businesses and government. Our colleagues from the School of Business and Economics (SBE) caught up with BISCI’s business development director Ton Geurts and BISCI’s scientific director Bart Vos.

Among other things, they discussed how BISCI can contribute to a more sustainable world, the Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) joining SBE and the first annual Supply Chain Innovation Conference in February.

Full interview

You can read the full interview with Ton and Bart here.

Resultaten onderzoek naar draagvlak tweetalig onderwijs bekend

Is er in Limburg draagvlak voor het aanbieden van Nederlands- én Duitstalig onderwijs op vmbo-niveau? Dat onderzocht UMIO’s Service Science Factory (SSF) eind 2019 in opdracht van Provincie Limburg. In december presenteerde het verantwoordelijke projectteam de onderzoeksresultaten. Wij spraken met projectleider Dominique Meyers van SSF.

“Duits is nog steeds een populair vak op middelbare scholen in Limburg, terwijl de populariteit in de rest van Nederland afneemt”, geeft Dominique Meyers aan. “De toevoeging van Duitstalig onderwijs binnen het vmbo kan op termijn zorgen voor een betere aansluiting van vraag en aanbod op de Euregionale arbeidsmarkt. Daarom heeft Provincie Limburg ons gevraagd om het draagvlak voor tweetalig onderwijs te onderzoeken.”

Belangrijkste resultaten

“We hebben het onderzoek holistisch aangepakt”, vervolgt Meyers. “Dit betekent dat we deskresearch hebben gecombineerd met uitvoerig kwalitatief en kwantitatief onderzoek. Daarnaast hebben we alle belangrijke stakeholders bij het onderzoek betrokken.”

In de onderzoeksresultaten wordt onderscheid gemaakt tussen de volgende stakeholders: leerlingen, ouders, scholen, grensinformatiepunten en belangenverenigingen van werkgevers.

Leerlingen

Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat bijna 50% van de bevraagde vmbo-leerlingen inziet dat tweetalig onderwijs kan leiden tot een betere baan. Wel denken ze dat de tweetalige studie hen 50% extra tijd gaat kosten. Daardoor is slechts 20% van de bevraagde leerlingen bereid om ook echt ervoor te kiezen.

Verder blijkt dat leerlingen in de hoge vmbo-stromen meer interesse hebben in tweetalig onderwijs en ook meer bereid zijn om in Duitsland te werken, terwijl juist de leerlingen in de lagere, technische stromen er meer baat bij kunnen hebben. Daarnaast blijken leerlingen met hoge cijfers voor Duits meer interesse te hebben in tweetalig onderwijs dan leerlingen met lage cijfers.

Ouders

Van de bevraagde ouders zou 50% hun kind inschrijven voor tweetalig onderwijs. Van die 50% zou 65% extra willen betalen hiervoor. 94% van de ouders gaf aan dat ze in staat zijn om hun kinderen te helpen met huiswerk of taken voor het vak Duits.

Scholen

Vertegenwoordigers van scholen in de regio geven aan te willen meewerken aan een internationale regio, maar tegelijkertijd veel uitdagingen te zien op dat vlak. Voorbeelden zijn de motivatie van leerlingen, de vereiste basiskennis van de Duitse taal bij leerlingen en financiële steun voor het opleiden en begeleiden van leerkrachten.

Grensinformatiepunten

Deze partijen geven aan dat onderwijs over de cultuurverschillen tussen beide landen cruciaal is bij tweetalig onderwijs. Zo moet aandacht worden besteed aan de hiërarchische structuur en formele omgangsvormen binnen Duitse organisaties.

Belangenverenigingen

De belangenverenigingen MKB Limburg en IHK Aachen zien aan beide kanten van de grens grote tekorten aan technisch geschoold personeel. Het aantal Nederlanders dat in Duitsland werkt, is relatief laag. Duitse bedrijven werven ook niet actief in Nederland, omdat de technische opleidingen in eigen land meer de diepte in gaan terwijl in Nederland de opleidingen breder zijn ingestoken en medewerkers zich on the job kunnen specialiseren.

Dominique Meyers, tweede van links, met de overige leden van het projectteam.

Aanbevelingen

“Op basis van deze resultaten hebben we een adviesrapport opgesteld voor de provincie”, aldus Meyers. “Zo adviseren we om meer bewustzijn te creëren bij alle stakeholders – maar vooral ouders en leerlingen – over de meerwaarde van tweetaligheid. Ook raden we aan om klein te beginnen; eerst additionele taallessen en daarna eventueel uitbreiden. Verder moet er bij de invoering van tweetalig onderwijs voor certificatie worden gezorgd. Hierdoor kunnen leerlingen achteraf met een certificaat of diploma aantonen wat ze hebben gepresteerd. Een laatste belangrijk punt is het activeren van Duitse bedrijven, bijvoorbeeld door stageplekken en bedrijfsbezoeken te regelen bij deze bedrijven. Zo wordt de Duitse arbeidsmarkt tastbaar voor de leerlingen.”

Het cluster Economie en Innovatie van Provincie Limburg is zeer tevreden over het eindresultaat. De onderzoeksresultaten en het adviesrapport vormen de basis voor overleg over de te nemen stappen in 2020.

UMind takes Problem Based Learning to the next level

Maastricht University is known for its Problem Based Learning (PBL), where students learn in small tutorial groups under the supervision of a tutor. In order to bring PBL to the next level and make use of digital innovations, the UM I-portfolio Board sponsors initiatives. Within the university BISS (Brightlands Institute for Smart Society), IDS (Institute for Data Science) and SSF (UMIO’s Service Science Factory) collaborated on the project UMind: a new digital tool to identify knowledge gaps with students and tutors during, before and after the tutorial sessions.

UMind provides students with a digital interface where they can create relational mind-maps to visualise the knowledge they have acquired. The data generated by making these mind-maps is analysed by a smart system and provides tutors as well as students with insights of what the entire tutorial group has learnt. Perhaps even more important, it also identifies knowledge gaps.

Great example of collaboration

This project is a great example of collaboration between various disciplines at Maastricht University. The project was initiated by BISS, as the institute operates at the cross-section of education, business, data science, artificial intelligence and philosophy. IDS analysed how to combine the mind-maps and delivered the technique in order to provide a valuable digital tool to the users.

SSF was approached by BISS to facilitate a design sprint to validate the project. In addition, SSF further developed the solution together with a small group of International Business students from Maastricht’s School of Business and Economics (SBE). Finally, students and teachers from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) were involved because the Political philosophy course, coordinated by one of the BISS PI’s, Darian Meacham, was chosen as a pilot course to test this new tool. The next step is to run another pilot to further validate and develop the solution.

Contact us

Are you interested in working on the edge of research and society connected to digitalisation, validating your research or collecting societal challenges? Please contact BISS at BISS-secretariat@maastrichtuniversity.nl. You can find more information about BISS on www.biss-institute.com.

If you want to know how SSF can help you improve your existing services or develop new service concepts, please contact us at info@umio.nl.

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Peter Sampers appointed as member of NWO’s audit committee

As of 1 January 2020, Prof. Dr. Peter Sampers RA has been appointed as external member of the audit committee at the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Sampers is professor at the Accounting and Information Management Department of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and has been involved in UMIO’s iEMFC programme since 2002.

Peter Sampers

NWO funds scientific research at public research institutions in the Netherlands, especially universities, and covers all scientific disciplines and fields of research. It has earned the status of a public-interest entity and is therefore subject to stricter and more independent oversight. SBE and the Accounting and Information Management Department are very pleased to have a department member who is entrusted with such a significant position.

Successful Breakfast Booster event on Empathy in Business

Could empathy be the key for business to unlock competitive advantage, or does it compromise efficiency and performance? This was the central question during UMIO’s Break Booster on Friday 13 December. In this workshop, Dr. Lukas Figge explored the most important questions concerning empathy in an interactive and experiential way.

Empathy has two levels. The first one is about relating to the feelings and emotions that another person is experiencing. The second one, which is often forgotten, is the ability to identify and fulfil another person’s needs and thereby contribute to his or her well-being.

Empathy is a hot topic in business nowadays. Just google it and you will find many articles highlighting the benefits of empathy for innovation, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, organisational learning and financial performance. However, apply it with care. Empathy can also have opposite effects if it comes at the expense of addressing sensitive issues that are crucial to delivering results.

Sketching a theoretical framework

About 30 professionals attended the Breakfast Booster with Lukas Figge at UMIO Café in Maastricht. Lukas is lecturer in Strategy & Entrepreneurship at Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics and works as innovator and trainer at UMIO.

After a delicious breakfast, Lukas started by explaining that empathy at best has an instrumental function in Milton Friedman’s liberal worldview: use it when it increases profits. This is in contrast to the stakeholder model, in which empathy itself has more intrinsic value. He then sketched a framework, including the work of Brene Brown on courageous leadership and the work of Marshal Rosenberg on non-violent communication. This immediately made the playing field clear to the participants.

Are we doing the right things?

The basic assumption of the framework is that every person on this planet is experiencing feelings right now. Those feelings are caused by the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of universal and life-enriching needs. As an exercise, participants then had to identify and share their own feelings and needs of the moment.

This was followed by a group assignment. In groups of five, they explored and discussed benefits and downsides of empathy. The term effectiveness came out remarkably often in the results, for most groups as an advantage of empathy and for some groups as a disadvantage. Apparently, empathy has a lot of influence on effectiveness and therefore on the question ‘Are we doing the right things?’.

Unlocking collaborative advantage

At the end of the session, Lukas explained that studies show that empathic care can jeopardise personal gains and benefits in competitive contexts where value capture is more important than value creation. However, it has major benefits for value creation and unlocking the collaborative advantage in organisations through the stimulation of connection, motivation and well-being.

Interesting and educational

This Breakfast Booster turned out to be an interesting and educational workshop with a group of enthusiastic professionals who were really working with each other and with Lukas. Everyone went home (or to work) happy and satisfied, because the workshop met the following needs of the participants: stimulation, collaboration, community, joy, presence, inspiration, discovery and learning.

How will technological innovations affect the job market over the next few years?

UMIO’s high-quality learning trajectories are fuelled by research carried out at Maastricht University, in particular at the School of Business and Economics (SBE). Since the beginning of this year, three researchers connected to SBE have lead a large European research project called Technequality. In a recent report, the Technequality Consortium offers eight possible future scenarios describing how the recent wave of technological innovations will affect the job market in Europe over the next few years.

Reskilling and adapting

In almost all scenarios, jobs are heavily impacted. Under the assumption that innovations would primarily have a labour-saving effect, there is a high chance that unemployment will rise. In such scenarios, reskilling the labour force and adapting our education systems is essential.

More information

You can find the full report on the Technequality website.

“Training is not just for the labour market”

Which study programme should you rather avoid if economic independence is important to you? Which vacancies will abound in five years’ time? Every two years, SBE’s Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) publishes a comprehensive report on ‘the labour market by education and occupation’. In the latest version, they look ahead to 2024.

In an extensive interview with Maastrichtuniversity.nl, research leader Prof. Didier Fouarge talks about how those reports come about – and the difficulty of evaluating prognoses.

Read the full interview with Prof. Didier Fouarge.

Tom van Veen on internationalisation

As UMIO we are part of Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE). Just like SBE, we are an international organisation that attracts students from all over the world. With the Week of the International Student coming up (16-22 November), our colleagues at SBE interviewed Tom van Veen about the importance of internationalisation.

As one of the first faculties to introduce English courses and exchange programmes in the 1990s, Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE) has long been an advocate for internationalisation. One of the academics that has lead the way for SBE on its journey towards internationalisation is Professor Tom van Veen.

“We live in a globalised world. That also implies for me that even if you work for a local company in Maastricht, at some point in your career, you will work in an international context and with people from different countries and cultures”, says Tom. “For this reason, I think that students need to have international exposure and to meet international students, either in Maastricht or abroad.”

The full interview with Tom van Veen can be found on the SBE website.


Photo: Michel Saive

UM academics react to the Nobel Prize in economics

Last week, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019 to Abhijit Banerjee (MIT), Esther Duflo (MIT) and Michael Kremer (Harvard) for their work to alleviate poverty. All three Laureates were recognised for pioneering an approach to obtaining reliable answers to fight poverty across the globe. Esther Duflo is the youngest ever laureate, and the second woman after Elinor Ostrom a decade ago.

The news of the prize was received with great enthusiasm here in Maastricht. Our colleagues at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) spoke to several UM academics with expertise in the field of development economics to hear their initial thoughts.

Read the full article here.

SBE researchers lead project to tackle challenges linked to technical innovations

UMIO’s high-quality learning trajectories are fuelled by research carried out at Maastricht University, in particular at the School of Business and Economics (SBE). Since the beginning of this year, 3 researchers connected to SBE have lead TECHNEQUALITY, a large European research project with a budget of nearly 3 million Euros.

TECHNEQUALITY will attempt to answer questions like ‘Will robots take our jobs?’, ‘Are we teaching people the right skills for tomorrow’s labour market?’ and ‘How will Artificial Intelligence impact inequality?’.

SBE researcher Mark Levels leads the project with the help of Raymond Montizaan and Didier Fouarge, who are also connected to SBE. The findings of this research project are expected to inform policy-makers working to support their populations through technological transformation.

Read the full article

Do you want to know more about this fascinating project? Then read the extensive article on the SBE website.