Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania has become the first university in Lithuania to win ERA Chairs competition for attracting top academics. The EUR 2.4 million funding, coming from the EU's research and innovation funding programme, Horizon 2020 will enable KTU to attract top academics to strengthen its competitiveness among centres of excellence elsewhere in the European Research Area (ERA).
The institutions who are selected through the competition have to award ERA Chairs to outstanding academics who have the capacity to raise standards of research, to contribute to the global knowledge, and to boost innovation economy. ERA Chairs is an important part of the EU's effort to unlock Europe's potential in research and innovation.
KTU's project in the competition is titled "Industry 4.0 Impact on Management Practices and Economics". According to the University's Vice-Rector for Research and Innovations Professor Asta Pundziene, the project focuses on the changes in industry and business influenced by the 4th industrial revolution.
"Digitalisation and automatisation of business processes allows us to reassess companies' efficiency both in operational and financial terms. For example, FinTech companies have proved that financial services are not related solely to cash and geographic location, also, now we can see that massive production can be carried out by robots controlled by one person. This means that management of human resources, finance and processes of these businesses is changing, so there's need to assess and check how the theories and laws of economy are functioning in virtual world", says Pundziene.
The winning project is a great achievement not only for the University, but also for the State - KTU finally managed to break the vicious circle of unsuccessful Lithuanian participation in ERA Chairs competition. In total, 100 applications from 20 countries were submitted; 7 of them - from Lithuanian institutions, and 4 - from KTU. The aim of the winning project is to strengthen the international research and innovation competitiveness of the KTU Business School by attracting high level researchers. Outstanding academics from Delft University (Netherlands), St Gallen University (Switzerland) and from other top universities and research institutions around the world will be collaborating with KTU. 2.4 million euros funding has been allocated for the period of 5 years.
According to the Dean of KTU School of Economics and Business, Professor Edita Gimzauskien? the main objectives of the project are related to designing of strategy for investigation of Industry's 4.0 impact on business development and economy, to attracting top level researchers, to research management and development of International PhD School.
"Our winning of the project signifies that European Union experts are identifying our areas of research as important both for development of global knowledge and for businesses and industry. I believe that the interdisciplinary approach was main advantage of our project: it combines technologies, management practices and economic modelling. Industry 4.0 and its global impact on companies and economy is currently among the most researched topics, thus we've been granted the opportunity to work with the best of the best", says Gimzauskien?.
KTU will announce the international competition for the outstanding academic to fill in the ERA Chair position shortly; it is planned that the he or she will take up the Principal Investigator's position and will start forming of the research group in the beginning of 2019.
"We will be looking for somebody globally recognized in interdisciplinary research, conducting research both in the areas of Industry 4.0, business digitalization and automatization, and having extensive knowledge of management research", says Professor Pundziene.
KTU Vice-Rector for Research and Innovations is emphasizing the close links with industry that KTU School of Economics and Business possesses. Therefore, all the competences and new knowledge created during the project will be transferred to Lithuanian and international business. It is expected that the management technologies, adapted to flexible smart businesses will contribute to their sustainable success.