EU research on integration and e-governance issues

Danube University Krems is a sought-after project partner in several H2020 research projects

28/10/2020

In raising funds for Horizon 2020 projects, Danube University Krems once again demonstrated its expertise. Embedded in international consortia, its research activities include the incorporation of innovative technological approaches in administration, methods for improving social integration in general and a better understanding of integration outside of large cities.

The departments of Danube University Krems deal with current societal challenges as part of their university-wide research focus "Cohesive and Innovative Societies". The Department for E-Governance and Administration deals with the effects digital change imposes on strategy, organization and processes in teaching and research. Through using new technologies effectively, the aim is to offer citizens easily accessible, user-friendly, personalized public services. The project's vision is to collaborate with integrated public services based on innovative e-governance models and mobile applications to enhance the people's trust and satisfaction with public institutions. In practice, virtual assistants like chatbots, knowledge graphs and linked data shall be used to achieve this goal. "inGOV" follows a multidisciplinary approach to research, complemented by case studies and a technology acceptance model. The digital public service in Malta as a pilot project and the collection of the tourism tax in Austria will be modernized. In Greece, the renewal of disability cards will be digitized and in Croatia AI-supported virtual assistants are planned. "Our goal is to ensure that the knowledge gained is fed back into EU policy in order to improve the coordination between policy, research and practice," says Noella Edelmann, project manager at Danube University Krems.

Furthermore, the project "Mobile Cross-Border Government Services for Europe" (mGov4EU) is in the pipeline in the field of e-governance, which targets at implementing cross-border services along the SDG (Single Digital Gateway) and the eIDAS regulation (on electronic identification and trust services) using mobile devices. TECHNIKON Forschungs- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH is responsible for the coordination of this project, which concentrates on aspects of security and data protection in the services offered. Assistant Prof Thomas Lampoltshammer will be responsible for the project at Danube University Krems.

Migration beyond the metropolitan areas

Also part of the Faculty of Business and Globalization is the Department of Migration and Globalization, which deals with a different aspect of cohesive and innovative societies. The EU has intensified the question of ways to integrate migrants into society since the events of 2015. In the two EU research projects "WholeComm" and "SPRING", Danube University Krems contributes its longstanding expertise in this field. 

The project "Whole-COMM: Exploring the Integration of Post-2014 Migrants in Small and Medium-Sized Towns and Rural Areas from a Whole Community Perspective", coordinated by the Collegio Carlo Alberto at the University of Turin (Italy), shifts the focus from the relatively well-researched integration of migrants in large cities to the conditions in smaller towns and rural areas. "How local communities cope with these challenges will shape the future of integration in Europe. The knowledge gaps are severe and the Whole-COMM project will be overcome them," says Assistant Prof Albert Kraler, the project manager for research in Austria. The project understands integration innovatively, from a conceptual point of view, as a process having an affecting on the entire society, and therefore using a "Whole of Community Approach". To this end, the integration dynamics are studied comparatively at the local level within communities under different structural conditions, applying and triangulating a wide range of different methods. In addition to the Italian coordinator and Danube University Krems, the consortium includes further project partners in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Instruments to integrate successfully

Best practices and knowledge in the field of integration already exist in large numbers. The EU project "SPRING - Sustainable Practices of Integration", coordinated by the Italian Fondazione ISMU, brings together some of the best networked European integration researchers, think tanks and stakeholder networks to share the findings with as wide a circle as possible. The "SPRING" partners are ready to create a "toolbox" to support integration practitioners and policy makers at local, regional and national level in improving the innovation, effectiveness and sustainability of their work. Albert Kraler, the project manager of Danube University Krems, summarizes the project objective: "'SPRING' aims to collect the best research results on effectiveness, transferability, sustainability and evaluation methods for integration policy and practice, and to compile them in a structured way. Target groups can access the results via the SPRING online portal via a database, which builds on existing portals. The database is designed to increase the accessibility to practice-relevant 'learnings' of measures". The project results will also be published in other formats, such as manuals, training materials and scientific publications. One of the project's core elements is networking with relevant "communities of practice", which will use participatory approaches in processes to take stock of existing integration practices and evaluate them. In addition to the Italian coordination and Danube University Krems, other institutions from Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania and Canada are project partners.  

About Horizon 2020

Under Horizon 2020, the EU will provide almost 75 billion euros for research and innovation between the years 2014 and 2020. The scope of funded projects ranges from basic research to innovative product development and invites researchers, companies and collaborations between science and industry to contribute their expertise. The Horizon 2020 research and innovation program is particularly aimed at excellent research, highly competitive research and business locations and more innovative products and services.

 

Inclusive Governance Models and ICT Tools for Integrated Public Service Co-Creation and Provision (inGOV)

Duration: 1 January 2021–1 January 2024
Funding: EU – H2020
Department: E-Governance and Administration; Center for E-Governance
Coordination: UniSystems Luxembourg Sàrl
Project Lead (Donau-Universität Krems): Noella Edelmann

 

Exploring the Integration of Post-2014 Migrants in Small and Medium-Sized Towns and Rural Areas from a Whole Community Perspective (Whole-COMM)

Duration: 1January 2021–31 March 2024
Funding: EU – H2020
Department: Migration and Globalization; Center for Migration and Integration
Coordination: Collegio Carlo Alberto, Universität Turin (Italien)
Project Lead (Donau-Universität Krems): Assistant Prof Albert Kraler

 

Sustainable Practices of Integration (SPRING)

Duration: 1 March 2021–28 February 2023
Fördergeber: EU – H2020
Department: Migration and Globalization; Center for Migration and Integration Coordination: Fondazione ISMU (Italien)
Project Lead (Donau-Universität Krems): Assistant Prof Albert Kraler

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