The second FIT FORTHEM matchmaking workshop focused in the Digital transformation of societies

Text: Mira Väyrynen

As the first FIT FORTHEM’s matchmaking workshop focused in the citizen science in schools, the second workshop was all about the digital transformation. FIT FORTHEM working team organized this online event on June 17, 2021 with the Digital Transformation Lab. University of Valencia (UVEG) has been coordinating this Lab and organized the event together with the University of Jyväskylä (JYU).

The title of the workshop was Digital transformation in societies. In this workshop, we included several different topics according to the outputs and themes of the FORTHEM Digital Transformation Lab. This Lab is divided into four different modules and gave the opportunity for all of them to be represented in the workshop. To start organizing the workshop, Lab members were approached with a small survey to map the interest in participating and additionally, to identify the potential stakeholders who could be invited to this event.

Screenshot of the virtual workshop: Digital transformation in societies.


Workshop program

The workshop was launched with a short introduction about FORTHEM and Digital Transformation Lab by Dr. Tamás Péter Szabó (JYU), the scientific manager of the FORTHEM Labs and Prof. Jose Carlos Pedrosa López (UVEG), the Lab coordinator. The introduction was followed by an overview of the upcoming Horizon Europe by Dr. Paz Ruiz, the R&I Manager in Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Valencia. This overview also focused on the opportunities for the collaboration between the academia and non-academia, in order to give everyone ideas for future collaboration possibilities.

After the introduction, it was time for the four parallel module sessions that were organized in Howspace, which is a digital collaboration tool. In these module sessions, 12 FORTHEM academics from different fields facilitated 10 interactive sessions about different topics. The themes of the modules were adapted from the original DT-Lab module themes to meet the content of the sessions:

  • MODULE 1) The digitalization of the economy
  • MODULE 2) The digitalization of healthcare
  • MODULE 3) Political, legal, social and cultural issues
  • MODULE 4) Knowledge, education and working life

Workshop participants were able to choose which module session they wanted to participate.


Module sessions were facilitated by the academics from four different FORTHEM universities: Valencia (UVEG), Opole (UO), Burgundy (UB) and Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (JGU).

Module 1 included three different sessions. Beatriz Belando (UVEG) facilitated a session about digital finance, Marta Maciejasz (UO) about money digitalization and Detlev Hummel (UO) about the challenges for public regulators by financial digitalization. Module 2 had two sessions, with the topics of collaboration in the digitalization in medicine by Stephan Rietz (JGU) and virtual reality for rehabilitation by Elizabeth Thomas (UB) and Marta Miragall (UV).

Module 3 had also three sessions. Christoph Bläsi (JGU) introduced the first topic about AI in cultural production and discovery, taking publishing/books as a point of departure. The second topic, Digital humanities and the digitalization of cultural heritage, was introduced by Jorge Sebastián and Mar Gaitán (UVEG). Oscar Barbera (UVEG) facilitated the third session about the digitalization in political parties. Module 4 sessions included presentations by Daniel Gabaldón-Estevan (UVEG) about the promotion of healthy school settings and by Fernando Fita (UVEG) about AI in the working context and recruiting processes.

The workshop was concluded with a wrap-up session and the module session speakers shared their feedback about this type of event. Finally, some ideas for future collaboration were discussed and encouraged among the workshop participants.

After the workshop, the presentations were shared via Howspace with the workshop participants. Additionally, Howspace workspace was open until the end of June and the discussion could continue between the academics and all participants even after the event itself. This also enabled the access to materials and discussions to the people who had registered but could not attend the event. They could still contribute to the workshop and communicate with other interesting members of the workspace.


Participants’ their feedback about the event

The aim of FIT FORTHEM matchmaking workshops is to bring the academics and non-academics together to discuss current topics and even start to plan future actions together. To reach this goal, Digital Transformation lab members were encouraged to invite relevant stakeholders from their own field to join the workshop. There were altogether 67 participants from 14 different countries in the workshop, including all seven countries of FORTHEM partners and additionally, Austria, the Basque country, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden and Zimbabwe. 45 participants (including the organizers) represented FORTHEM Alliance universities, 7 participants were from other universities and 14 university-external representatives originated from different types of organizations such as political, economy- and IT-based associations/foundations or development centres, AI and VR based business, research centres and healthcare organizations.

An online feedback survey was conducted, and it was open for one week after the workshop. Participants’ feedback about the workshop was mainly positive. Participants found the topics interesting and liked the high-quality speakers and the interactions between the participants and the speakers. They wished that the presentations and parallel module sessions had been recorded and made available after the event as some participants found it hard to choose which module sessions to attend. Some participants wished more time for the sessions and free discussion. Thank you for the feedback – we will learn our lessons and improve our practices for the future workshops!

Interested in FIT FORTHEM workshops? Join our future workshops (photo: Unsplash, @mcleo).


Future collaboration and next workshops

During the 20-30 min module sessions, each FORTHEM academic who worked as a session facilitator asked if the participants of the session were interested in having a follow up discussion about their topic. If the workshop participants indicated their interest for the future collaboration, they could leave their contact details to the speakers with one click, and the workshop facilitators are able to contact them to organize future meetings. After the summer break and with progression of the module topics, we will see if this workshop produced any new relationships between the academic and the non-academic sectors. If you find some of the above-mentioned topics interesting, you can contact and we are happy to connect you with any of the FORTHEM academics.

We want to thank our amazing colleagues at the Digital Transformation Lab and FIT FORTHEM for putting your effort and supporting us in this workshop. These events would not happen without the valuable work of different partners as our matchmaking workshops are always a result of collaboration between several FORTHEM universities.

FIT FORTHEM matchmaking workshops with other FORTHEM Labs will continue after the summer break. Experiencing Europe Lab will organize their workshop in the end of September, Climate and Resources Lab on October 8th and Resilience, Life Quality and Demographic Change Lab on November 8th. You can always check the details of the upcoming workshops in the FIT FORTHEM website. Save the dates and welcome to the future FIT FORTHEM workshops to meet and greet with the FORTHEM academics!


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