Fontys ICT explores expansion of lectureships

Fontys Information and Communication Technology
Applied research is taking on an increasingly important role within higher vocational education. In the link between education and research, professorships play a central role, and with the completion of the Open Educational Resources (OER) professorship in 2022, Fontys ICT is looking to the future in preparing new professorships focused on the broad and rapid development of the ICT field and the growing importance of AI and private-public partnerships.

Lectureship candidates

Establishing a lectureship is a thorough process that requires the necessary preparation and exploration. Fontys expressly seeks to link this to social interests and needs, carefully considering where the focus should be. ICT is a challenging field for research because the often lengthy process of research is difficult to keep in step with the lightning-fast pace of innovation in ICT. Three candidate professors have therefore been appointed to prepare professorships, namely Herman Jurjus, Mark Madsen and Simona Orzán. In doing so, they follow in the footsteps of Robert Schuwer's OER lectureship, which focused on developing the education needed for today's ICT.


A broad and agile lectureship?

Herman Jurjus and Mark Madsen explore a special type of professorship; a broad professorship that can act agile in response to changes in the field, such as low-code/no-code (facilitating a simpler development process with less/no code) and the growing role of cybersecurity. The boundaries between disciplines are blurring and so are the needs from education and research. A broad lectureship is almost a necessity, according to Madsen: "If you look at the variation in hardware and software being used, along with the exponential growth in the number of devices, cybersecurity is becoming essential across the board. In every aspect of the digital world and for every stage of the ICT lifecycle. A broad lectureship can be incredibly valuable in adding, but also transforming, the research roles that Fontys ICT needs in the long term."


Jurjus focuses primarily on low-code/no-code. The concept has been around for some time, but now less code-intensive technology is seen as a possible labor shortage and keeping up with developments. "We are currently seeing a new generation of products, rapidly growing in number and popularity. However, many wonderful tools are not yet finding their way to the killer business case, while companies that enthusiastically start working with them have already noticed that they are short of specialized professionals. A flexible lectureship where low-code/no-code has a place could be exactly what is needed now: a network where knowledge and experience is built and shared, and linked to that close connection with education."


Green Artificial Intelligence

Simona Orzán is involved in a multitude of projects within the existing lectureship AI & Big Data, but will now prepare for a new line within this. Possibly in the form of a lectureship or lecturer position. The existing professorship AI & Big Data under Gerard Schouten has a challenge because of the broad impact of AI. Specialization may offer a solution here, and in particular deploying AI for biodiversity and nature management offers opportunities, according to Orzán: "We conveniently call this 'Green AI,' but we're actually talking about how to use data smartly to stimulate action to address acute nature and climate issues. In fact, there is already a lot of relevant data available that needs to be translated into insights and effective actions. Therein lies an important task for our practice-based research. The recently created L.INT grant, for lecturer positions in both a teaching and research institution, also offers perspective in view of our good relationship with the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. The challenge now is to find the best form for this."


The exploration of new lectureships is part of the future vision from Fontys ICT to take a pivotal (international) role as a knowledge institute in the region in applied ICT issues. Representation in the form of lectureships is a necessary part of this.