The Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (HFD) will continue to receive funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The funding period of the network will be extended to 2025, as announced today by Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek. As a founding member of the HFD, CHE supports higher education institutions (HEIs) in their strategies for digitisation in teaching and learning. Additional topics include equal opportunities in the digital age, and the design of learning spaces at HEIs.
The Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (HFD), launched in 2014, has been awarded further funding for the next four years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek made the announcement in the evening: “The Hochschulforum Digitalisierung provides German higher education institutions with a strong companion for pooling their strengths and sharing expertise. My ministry has therefore decided to continue funding the HFD with €15 million over the next few years so that it can continue its successful work and further advance digital higher education,” stated Karliczek.
As a “think and do tank”, the HFD informs, connects and advises a variety of higher education stakeholders. In this context, it also places emphasis on the power of the community when it comes to the issue of strategy development: several formats and activities focus on the promotion of idea sharing among university leaders and strategic decision-makers.
“Given that the last few semesters have been held online, all HEIs now have experience in the digitisation of teaching and learning. Now, with further funding from the Federal Ministry of Education, it is a matter of consolidating good concepts and setting a strategic course for the future. The Hochschulforum Digitalisierung supports higher education institutions with a wide range of support, exchange and networking programmes,” remarked Julius-David Friedrich, Project Leader at the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung for the CHE Centre for Higher Education.
One such programme is peer-to-peer strategy consulting, which was launched in 2017. A peer-to-peer consultancy programme specifically for university departments was added in 2021. While strategy consulting is designed for the whole HEI, departmental consulting is aimed at dean’s offices and at advancing teaching and learning within a particular subject. Both types of consultation are facilitated and guided by experts from the HFD. Peers – members of the university, ranging from students to university managers from other HEIs – are on hand to share their individual experiences and insights. After completion of the one-year consulting process, the HFD accompanies the HEIs in the context of an alumni network. In addition, the HRD introduced a tandem programme for university leaders called HFDlead in 2019, which will be continued.
A new service launched this spring is the HFD Strategy Benchmark, a tool that enables HEIs to find out where they stand with their digitisation efforts compared to other institutions in Germany. There are plans to expand this tool in future years with the addition of examples of good practice.
The issue of equal opportunities in the digital age is also on the HFD agenda. CHE will develop recommendations for action on this matter for HEIs so that they can use them effectively to achieve greater equality of opportunity.
To promote the design of future-oriented learning spaces, the HFD will highlight innovative, prototypical approaches and provide support to HEIs seeking to implement specific learning space projects. The practical findings will then be made available to the community and experiential knowledge will be shared.
About the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung:
The Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (HFD) orchestrates the discourse on higher education in the digital age. As a central initiator, it informs, advises and brings together actors from universities, politics, business and society.
The three consortium partners – Stifterverband, the CHE Centre for Higher Education and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) – have secured around €15 million in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research over the next for years to expand the inter-university community cooperation that has proved successful.