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Research - 17.05.2019 - 00:00

Lake Constance Smart Government Academy

Nine cities and municipalities from Germany, Austria and Switzerland are joining forces with four universities to set up the Lake Constance Smart Government Academy. This transnational platform interlinks experience and knowledge in order to prepare new solutions for the working and performance spheres of the local authorities around Lake Constance. The academic leadership has been assigned to the University of St.Gallen.

17 May 2019. The project is supported as an Interreg V-Programme. Its objective is the joint utilisation of the current opportunities and challenges of tomorrow’s public administration.

Innovative technologies such as the internet of things, sensor systems, big data and artificial intelligence are marking a new wave of digitalisation. Successful initiatives have already been launched around Lake Constance under the heading of "Smart City". This provides the public sector with a great number of options through the interlinkage of data and services, the exchange of knowledge and the opportunity to learn from the experience of the other project partners.

Currently, the Lake Constance Smart Government Academy project has been given the green light in the context of the Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein Interreg V-Programme. The provincial capital Bregenz as the leading project partner is taking on the coordination and organisation of the project. The academic leadership has been assigned to the University of St.Gallen.

The partner cities of the Academy are Germany’s Friedrichshafen, Konstanz and Ravensburg, the Austrian cities of Bregenz, Dornbirn and Feldkirch, as well as the Swiss cities of Schaffhausen and St.Gallen and the municipality of Berg/SG. Besides the University of St.Gallen, the University of Konstanz, Zeppelin University and the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences are involved in the project.

Each of the nine partner cities and municipalities will make a practical contribution to the project by means of current "smart government" projects which reflect the manifold initiatives of the Lake Constance region. Each of these practical ventures is advised by an academic research institution.

The fact that authorities will be able to rely on this pool of knowledge when it comes to planning and implementing smart government projects will reduce costs and allow for the exploitation of synergies.

Fields of activities and project partners: an overview

The city of Bregenz will join the cities of St.Gallen and Friedrichshafen and the municipality of Berg/SG to work on "Smart Administration" under the supervision of the University of St.Gallen and the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences. This topic was also entrusted to Zeppelin University in close cooperation with the city of Ravensburg.

The cities of Konstanz and Feldkirch will pool forces with the University of Konstanz and the University of St.Gallen to work on the topic of "Human-centred design". Together with the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences, the cities of Dornbirn and Schaffhausen will deal with the "Exhaustion of the innovation potential of smart technologies". The "Lake Constance urban data space" will be the practical project of the cities of Konstanz and Friedrichshafen, under the academic supervision of Zeppelin University.

The results of the individual cooperation projects will be presented and interlinked in workshops and conferences. Citizens are also invited to participate and became actively involved in various topics. On 24 September 2019, all the projects and project partners will be presented on the occasion of a Smart Government Summit at the University of St.Gallen.

Smart Government – a forward-looking issue

Thus the Lake Constance region is jointly taking up a forward-looking issue and is establishing itself as a pool of knowledge in the field of smart government. In the long term, innovative approaches will enable the cities and municipalities involved to attract equally innovative companies and offer progressive solutions for the Lake Constance region as an economic area.

Mayor Dipl.-Ing Markus Linhart is pleased that it has been possible to establish forward-looking cooperation with the University of St.Gallen at the initiative of the provincial capital of Bregenz: "Smart administration can only succeed in an exchange with other local authorities, and particularly also only with a direct involvement of citizens." Kuno Schedler, professor at the HSG, emphasises the combination of research and practice: "The cities and municipalities in the Lake Constance region are regarded as pioneers in this field. This creates a perfect basis for cooperation between practice and research." Although international research reveals that many theoretical concepts exist in the western world, their specific, practical implementation is still not widespread. This project will set standards in this field.

This announcement was first published by the City of Bregenz.

Image: Launching event of the Lake Constance Smart Government Academy, © City of Bregen

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