Framework for interdisciplinary projects in the context of "Industrie 4.0"


The SATW Expert Group “Industrie 4.0” has developed a framework for interdisciplinary projects in the context of Industrie 4.0. This is intended to help partners in industrial research projects to keep an eye on all the essential factors for the success of such projects.

Industrie 4.0 connects people, machines and products. Intelligent networking enables companies, for example, to optimize internal business processes, make production more efficient or offer individualized products and services. However, to realize this, a large number of factors from different business areas must be taken into account. Accordingly, the topic is often classified a priori as interdisciplinary in research and development projects. Undoubtedly, the inclusion of expertise from different areas can produce a more holistic solution. However, many issues related to Industrie 4.0 can also be approached in a monodisciplinary way.

The SATW Expert Group “Industrie 4.0” consists of specialists from various Swiss educational and research institutions as well as disciplines. The group has set itself the task of investigating the need for an interdisciplinary approach and the appropriate design of research cooperation in the field of Industrie 4.0. This has resulted in the framework "Good interdisciplinary projects in the context of Industrie 4.0". This framework is intended to support participants in research projects in deciding to what extent an interdisciplinary approach to the problem is appropriate.

Interdisciplinary projects are appropriate if the research question requires different competences with research relevance, if the project partners want to broaden their horizons or if the chance for innovation is to be increased. General aspects of project management such as quality, costs, time and coordination skills also apply to interdisciplinary projects. However, communication tends to be more complex. The "right" selection of project partners is correspondingly important.

Interdisciplinary projects have more potential for surprises. The consideration of interpersonal factors and a fair participation in the project funds and results promote a positive project outcome. In order to create a clear framework for research projects with industry, some precautions should be taken by industry, research institutions and the researchers involved. The question of the necessity of interdisciplinarity is always at the beginning.