Secondment Report #05 UiA on the road

In June and July 2019 two researchers from Norway did the first RISE secondments for the University of Agder (UiA). Both visited Virtimo in Berlin. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jaziar Radianti, who is co-project leader for UiA, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tim A. Majchrzak, who is project leader for UiA, travelled to Berlin. Additionally, both visited Duisburg.

The secondments included two joint meetings:

On 17th and 18th June, Jaziar and Tim met with staff from the University of Duisburg-Essen at the Duisburg campus of the university. The meeting was hosted by Prof. Dr. Stefan Stieglitz, who is consortium leader. The meeting continued the close, multi-project collaboration of UiA and UDE (UDE). Moreover, we used the meeting to work on the media assets of the project, including filming for a marketing clip.

On the 4th of July, Jaziar and Tim met Stefan Fuchß of Virtimo for a planning meeting. Stefan Stieglitz also joined this meeting at Virtimo’s headquarters in Berlin.

Since Virtimo is the only commercial partner in the project and since UiA and Virtimo did not collaborate before, the meeting aimed specifically at sounding out how future collaboration could look like. We fruitfully discussed how secondments to Virtimo could be designed in a way that would be enriching to researchers yet offer business value to Virtimo. Likewise, we also scrutinized possibilities for Virtimo’s staff to travel. As a result, we captured several ideas that we will now work on in the coming months. Topping the hospitality of Virtimo throughout the meeting, we concluded the discussion over dinner.

Aside from the main meetings, Jaziar and Tim used the secondments for numerous additional activities. Jaziar had extensive interactions with researchers from UDE during the secondments, especially on laying-down some plans together with them to achieve the RISE goals, such as contributing to publications and plan for coordination among work package activities.

On achieving the publication goals, a set of groups has been established during the RISE kick-off meeting in April 2019. One of the RISE topics related to crisis communication is concerning Digital Volunteers. A couple of meetings have been arranged between an UDE researcher, Lennart Hofeditz, and Jaziar, which hopefully will lead into a joint research paper for a journal publication in the next three or four months on this topic.

On achieving the work package goals, we set-up a discussion to see the possibilities on how to establish a more efficient collaboration among work packages. Moreover, we discussed initial ideas on how to realize the work package 5 goal, i.e. Implementation of a data extraction and analysis prototype for crisis response management. Moreover, we discussed the work package 6 goal, i.e. 360° assessment of communication and data dissemination measures resulting in social media communication guidelines in crisis.

During the discussion, we conduct a mapping between WPs, tasks and publication goals, and tried to develop a strategy to have a coordination, which is planned to be addressed in the second RISE workshop. Especially on WP6, we considered to have a more tightly coordinate effort among different RISE contributors, e.g. coming at the same time for a secondment to UiA and planning for testing available tools.
For Tim the additional activities were particularly project management and marketing tasks, as well as some formalities. Additionally, he further developed ideas for a journal paper to be jointly developed between UDE, UiA and the city of Kristiansand. This paper will look at societal media analytics for societal communication. Finally, he scrutinized possibilities to attract more staff from UiA for secondments.

Tim A. Majchrzak is an associate professor at the Department of Information Systems at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. His research comprises both technical and organizational aspects of software engineering, often in the context of Web technologies and Mobile Computing.
Jaziar Radianti is head of the CIEMlab. Her research interest includes simulation approaches, mobile sensing and artificial intelligence for crisis management. She is also interested in scenario development for serious game training.