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TU Berlin

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Modern research projects often deal with complex topics that require the cooperation of scientists from different disciplines at various locations. In the INF subproject, we try to meet the resulting challenges with innovative IT solutions.
In addition to providing simple functions such as email distribution, shared data storage and discussion forums, we will gradually integrate future-oriented processes, methods and IT tools on the basis of a common Internet platform, which will enable collaboration between different locations and facilitate communication between different disciplines. At the same time, this Internet platform will also provide the public with access to the results of the collaborative research project and thus function as a knowledge portal on the subject of sustainability.
For the internal cooperation in the Collaborative Research Centre, a web platform was realized on the basis of the open source software Liferay, where scientists can research together, exchange information and share results. In addition to functions such as a shared calendar, forums and contact lists, it also offers services such as video conferences and online surveys. A task management system, which is closely linked to the platform's forum, is available for efficient coordination within the project. This allows the creation of tasks to be traced and open points to be discussed in the forum. It also enables the project management to track the progress of the project. On this " market place " the scientists can describe in short sentences what they need for their research or what they can offer to the partners. According to their categories, these "inputs" and "outputs" are linked so that the scientists can see at one glance which partners they can exchange ideas with. In order to train the scientists for using the platform, a blended learning concept was established in which video casts, written instructions and wiki contributions were provided in addition to on-site training (Fig. 1).

In addition to the internal work area, the web platform also offers a public website where scientists can share their findings with the public. Visitors will find the latest information on the SFB1026's activities, press releases and, increasingly, interactive elements to help them understand and experience the idea of sustainability. An example is a simple game consisting of a product configurator for a pedelec that is currently being developed (Fig.2). In the process, the user himself is put into the role of a product designer in order to learn at first hand what needs to be taken into account in sustainable product design and how development decisions can affect sustainability. The involvement of the public in the design of research is a particular focus of the further research work of the INF project.

You can find out more about the challenges, approaches and results of Project C4 in this PowerPoint presentation.


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