DIZH funds ten innovation projects

Develop and implement innovative solutions to the challenges of digital transformation: This is the goal of the ten projects approved by the innovation program of the Digitalization Initiative of Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH). With four million Swiss francs, the canton and the universities are promoting close collaboration between research and practice in areas such as health, education and sustainability.

Four million francs were to be awarded, and 52 project applications were submitted. Common to all applications is the close collaboration of Zurich’s universities with partners from the field. Findings from research should be applied, and needs from practice should flow into science, according to the basic objective. With the competitively awarded funding, the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH)¬†aims to strengthen Zurich’s competitiveness in the field of digitization.

A jury consisting of 12 specialists from all participating universities has now selected ten projects that will be supported with a total of four million Swiss francs – half from the Canton of Zurich and half from the participating universities. These are forward-looking ideas for current challenges on topics such as diagnostics and rehabilitation, stress management and decision-making, as well as virtual learning spaces and new teaching concepts. The work will start in the course of the year. The following three projects illustrate the thematic diversity of the ten projects:

A house manages itself

Blockchain is used primarily in finance. But can a building also manage itself with this technology? And who bears responsibility when technology acts autonomously? The no1s1 project is dedicated to so-called Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs): a physical space that owns and manages itself via an open platform. A smart contract based on blockchain technology is used for this purpose. Involved in the development of a prototype that manages physical (and not only digital) assets are the Blockchain Center of the University of Zurich and the ZHAW School of Management and Law.

An app supports caregivers

In the You+Care project, the ZHAW Department of Social Work and the ZHdK Department of Design are teaming up with We+Tech and Pro Aidants, the association that coordinates the concerns of caregivers of people in need of help and care. The digital application is intended to support those affected, who often suffer from high levels of strain, stress and psychological problems. The aim is to prolong the care relationship and reduce health costs through stress management, targeted interventions and networking with specialists.

Creative and digital design in the classroom

Students should not only learn how to use computers sensibly in school, but also critical thinking and problem-solving skills, especially “computational thinking” (CT). “Making” refers to creative and digital design activities that simultaneously enable the acquisition of CT skills. Developing and testing such “making” activities in the classroom as Open Educational Resources (OER) is the goal of the project by researchers from PH Zurich and UZH with the Zurich City School Board.

“I am pleased about the many high-quality project submissions. The interdisciplinary collaborations between the DIZH universities have great potential to develop the projects into groundbreaking digital applications.”

Christoph Weckerle, Chair of the DIZH Innovation Panel and Head of the Zurich Centre for Creative Economies at the ZHdK

The ten approved projects in brief

Prevention / Rehabilitation

  • Tele-assessment: In rehabilitation, the movements of the upper limbs after a stroke are recorded with commercially available webcams and assessed using Deep Learning.
  • Deep Brain Vessel Profiler: Improved imaging techniques to visualize blood vessels enable individualized therapy for stroke sufferers.
  • Stress Management: An app as digital support, with which caregiving relatives can manage their stresses and thus cope better.
  • Exergame: A fitness computer game that encourages physical activity (“exercise”) is being developed and evaluated to make sports rehabilitation more effective and attractive.

Education

  • Open Educational Resources (OER): new teaching concepts for “making” activities in school in the form of online courses, learning settings, teaching and learning concepts are developed and tested.
  • Immersive Virtual Reality: students in basic vocational education can immerse themselves in virtual learning spaces to strengthen their action skills.
  • Transdisciplinary Collaborations: A platform for developing innovative formats between research and design that the public can participate in through an exhibition and workshops.

Management / Economics

  • Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO): A house manages itself – through a smart contract based on blockchain technology.
  • Digitization of value chains: Shifting from “push” to sustainable “pull” production to adapt to changing purchasing behavior.
  • Decision Support System (DSS): a collaborative environment to help take greater account of uncertainties in decision-making on climate risks.

Further information about the projects

Contact for inquiries

Media Relations
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 44 634 44 67
E-mail: mediarelations@kommunikation.uzh.ch