The Internet dominated the 1990s as the new and innovative medium. The business community has now turned to an emerging topic – Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. This term comprises new challenges faced by the industrial sector in its increasing need to find responses to widespread demand for individualised products. Here at the DLR Project Management Agency, our software systems experts advise the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on the latest developments and challenges. For example, we organised an expert panel featuring representatives from the government, industry and science. In addition, we support numerous projects aimed at the systematic use of software to research and test architectures, tools and platforms. We are also active within the central funding programme ‘Autonomics for Industry 4.0’ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Technical innovation also brings widespread societal changes; it therefore follows that our focus on social innovation is increasing. For instance, the BMBF funding priority ‘Digital Media in Vocational Education’ has been designed to make the best possible use of the opportunities of digitisation for lifelong learning and to build on competencies in this respect. At the DLR Project Management Agency, we are responsible for implementing research funding in the field of digital education, delivering ongoing conceptual support within the framework of future funding priorities. Moreover, we use our expertise to support BMBF in principal, strategic issues associated with digital learning and to provide ongoing support for the committee work undertaken by the ministry on a national and European level.