Information on individual educational components (ECTS-Course descriptions) per semester

Degree programme: Master Sustainable Energy Systems
Type of degree: FH Master´s Degree Programme
Winter Semester 2023

Course unit title Research Project: Digital Factory
Course unit code 800101023500
Language of instruction
Type of course unit (compulsory, optional) Elective
Semester when the course unit is delivered Winter Semester 2023
Teaching hours per week 4
Year of study 2023
Level of the course / module according to the curriculum Second Cycle (Master)
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6
Name of lecturer(s) Karl-Heinz WEIDMANN

Prerequisites and co-requisites

Participating students are expected to show scientific interest, as well as the impulse and the ability to work independently and to pose questions. Therefore, students are selected on the basis of an application letter and an interview.

A prerequisite for the assignment of this course is the willingness to continue the project in the following semester in a 6 ECTS-comprehensive course "Digital Factory 2 Research Project".

In the first 4 weeks of the semester, the future research question is developed through independent literature research and presented to the supervisor at the end of the 4 weeks. If there is no sufficient foundation for a one-year research work, it makes sense to withdraw from the research project. It is then possible to continue the Contextual Studies outside of the "Research Project: Digital Factory".

The aim is to further continue the research project in the scope of a master thesis.

Due to these prerequisites, students are not entitled to claim an admission to this course.

Course content

Application of fundamental scientific research methods, state-of-the-art analysis, introduction to research design and research planning, applied research and development methods in the areas digitalization of production resources and processes, data analytics, artificial intelligence or collaborative systems.

Learning outcomes

Students will independently work on scientific problems inside the current research environment of the FH Vorarlberg. They will answer a research question and author a scientific paper or thesis. The special research area "Production of the Future", is attacking problems to digitally integrate production environments or processes, to collect and analyze industrial data, enhancing knowledge and applications for collaborative human-machine-interaction or cloud based manufacturing environments. Through these projects students acquire

  • an overview of research questions and current activities and fields of application in the area of digital manufacturing
  • deepened methodological knowledge, which is not standard in core curricula
  • knowledge for later scientific activities (e.g., PhD studies).

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mobilization: Students are given leeways to pick up own questions and approaches.

Actionability: Joint planning of an appropriate approach, outline of methods and readings needed. Specification of standards and requirements concerning the work result.

Performance: Specification of general requirements of the collaboration and the mode of behaviour which are necessary for an effective performance.

Assessment methods and criteria

Achievement of objectives specified at the beginning of the project in relationship to the students previous knowledge. Documentation of learning outcomes and project results.

Public presentation, together with the other students in research projects.


This course constitutes the first cycle of the module "Research Project: Digital Factory" which will be continued under the same title in the subsequent winter term.

Recommended or required reading

Bauernhansl, Thomas ; Hompel, Michael ten ; Vogel-Heuser, Birgit (2014): Industrie 4.0 in Produktion, Automatisierung und Logistik: Anwendung · Technologien · Migration. 2014. Aufl. Wiesbaden: Springer Vieweg. 

Reinhart, Gunther (2017): Handbuch Industrie 4.0: Geschäftsmodelle, Prozesse, Technik. Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 

Roth, Armin (2016): Einführung und Umsetzung von Industrie 4.0: Grundlagen, Vorgehensmodell und Use Cases aus der Praxis. SpringerGabler.

Ronzhin, Andrey, Rigoll, Gerhard, Meshcheryakov, Roman (Eds.) (2016): Interactive Collaborative Robotics. First International Conference, ICR 2016, Budapest, Hungary, August 24-26, 2016, Proceedings.

... and other project related literature.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face, distance learning)

In research projects, the students deepen their knowledge with current research questions, which are pursued at FH Vorarlberg in the context of demanding research projects or within the framework of a documented internal competence building. Experiences and insights from the research process are recorded in a logbook.

As learners, students have the time to construct, reconstruct, or deconstruct knowledge (to uncover the limitations of ones own discipline). In the actual research process, they pursue a scientific approach ("craftsmanship quality") in research and observation / survey as well as a constructive approach to active and passive criticism in the discussion.

Supervision by researchers of the University of Applied Sciences FH Vorarlberg is provided by coaching, instruction, participation in discussions and seminars, as well as by guided self-studies.