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Digital & sustainable: new year, new DFF projects

This year, the “Digital Futures Fund” (DFF) projects have their focus not only on digitalisation but also on sustainability. Thirteen projects start the new year with a funding by ZHAW digital.

Since 2020, innovative digitalisation projects by ZHAW employees have been funded by the DFF with up to CHF 20,000. The project ideas in the current round of awards lie at the interface between digital transformation and sustainability. They address – where possible – one or more of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide an overarching benefit for the ZHAW or beyond. "We are delighted that the selected projects have been submitted by people from a wide range of backgrounds - from researchers of various ZHAW departments to employees in the president’s office or Finance & Services," says programme coordinator Navina Gupta.

Circularity via digital platforms

For example, two of the projects concern circular economy. Together with a NGO, Umut Demiriz from the School of Management and Law wants to develop a digital platform for used laptops. Jens Haarmann and Zeynep Erden Özkol from the same department, on the other hand, are examining the use of a digital platform for unused medicines. This circular system should ideally benefit chronically ill people worldwide.

ZHAW robots and digital teaching skills

Some of the funded projects want to improve processes at the ZHAW. For example, Martina Guzavina (ZHAW Finance & Services) wants to establish a central organisation for robot-assisted process automation (RPA) in her project on the "Automation of Repetitive Activities". The organisation will program robots that are used in the departments and pass on this expertise to employees. The project of Lisa Messenzehl-Kölbl, Head of Teaching Technologies & Didactics, will also benefit ZHAW staff. In the area of sustainable education, she and her project team want to boost the digital teaching skills of employees.

Sustainable buildings and energy

Other focal points of the newly funded projects are sustainable buildings and energy systems. Alexander Mächler from the School of Engineering uses a digital twin that simulates the energy system and enables its safe planning and use. Juan Camilo Mahecha Zambrano from the Department of Architecture is also working on energy issues, but with a focus on building occupants and their behaviour. Guido Brandi from the same department is focusing on the reuse of steel using an algorithm and Luca Baldini wants to analyse the energy performance of buildings using a model.

Overview of all projects

Other projects deal with "green patterns", climate-friendly products, digital physiotherapy and sustainable food chains, among others. Here (PDF 124,1 KB)is the complete list with all the information.