Call for Participation 2023

Take part in the Call for Participation of the University:Future Festival 2023 – Heads Up! The call runs from 28 November 2022 to 31 January 2023 and we invite all interested parties to participate. The organisers are Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (HFD) in partnership with Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre (StIL).

This is a long page. Here, you can jump to target groups, formats and most importantly tracks. Furthermore, we prepared an FAQ to answer most questions.

University:Future Festival is a hybrid event. The principle is digital first! The festival programme in all its diversity is online. Physical stages at various locations in Germany will enable encounters and networking in person. The festival is bilingual in German and English. The programme is largely based on submissions from our communities.

The motto of University:Future Festival 2023 is Heads up! A “Heads Up” is an advance information or a warning. What will be important in the coming years? Which topics and developments should we keep an eye on? “Heads Up” is also a positive exclamation. Rising costs and demands are causing uncertainty in higher education. The festival reflects this situation and wants to look constructively into the future.

Our aim is to initiate an unprecedented discourse about the future of higher education in the digital age. For this purpose, we are looking for contributions that reveal surprising insights, that convey practical experience and know-how, that are eye-opening, exciting and entertaining. We are looking for a combination of science and practical experience. We are looking for people who are passionate about their projects and visions.

The program of University:Future Festival is based on your submissions. Take the chance to shape the festival through your ideas! You have the opportunity to participate at University:Future Festival with the following formats: Workshops, Micro-trainings, Talks and Lightning Talks.

What we are looking for: Everything from visionary and surprising insights to small and instructive reports.

Who we are looking for — Target Groups of the Call

Everyone can participate in this call — because higher education concerns us all. However, we would like to address a number of organisations and individuals in particular:

University employees: The main target group of the festival are people who are active at universities — as lecturers, as didacticians, as university managers or leaders, or as administrative staff.

Students: Amplifying the voice of students is a special aim of University:Future Festival. We invite student organisations and individuals to present their current challenges, insights and demands at the festival.

Companies: EdTechs offer innovative solutions for many challenges — and we will show and discuss these at University:Future Festival. Another central topic from our point of view: Many companies develop processes for upskilling, i.e. higher qualification for employees, and often cooperate with universities in doing so. U:FF searches for best practice examples.

Civil Society: Academic education concerns the entire society. We are looking for people from all strands of society who have something to say about the future of higher education.

Internationals: The festival is bilingual in German and English, but the majority of participants are from the DACH region. We are interested in incorporating international ideas and best practice examples into the festival program.

What we are looking for — Formats

You can submit a range of formats. Please note that 26 and 27 April are our Conference:Days and 28 April is a Workshops:Day, where only workshops and micro-trainings will take place.

The following formats are possible:

  • Talks: 30-minute inputs on a topic presented by one or more people. The focus should be on applicable knowledge.
  • Lightning Talks: 5-minute short inputs. Lightning Talks are one of the most popular formats among the audience.
  • Workshops: Interactive formats with a length of 60-120 minutes and a limited number of participants (maximum 50 participants by default).
  • Micro-trainings: 60-minute teaching sessions.

Course of the Call 

The call runs until 31 January 2023. After the submission deadline, a track jury will review your submission. The track juries are composed of experts in the respective field, students as well as representatives of Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre and stage partners. We ensure that your submission is read and evaluated by at least three people, usually more.

In a second stage, the heads of the track juries meet and decide on the program. The preliminary program should be ready by the end of February 2023 at the latest.

Tracks — Topics we want to address

We structure the programme of University:Future Festival in different tracks. The tracks reflect the topics our communities are currently concerned with. They are based on the results of a

community survey,experiences from past events and programs as well as our shared understanding on current issues in our field.

Track: Spaces & hybrid concepts

What are the prerequisites for successful hybrid teaching concepts? How can higher education spaces function better? What does the topic of “blended learning” mean for spatial structures? What do universities need to consider in upcoming investment projects?

Hybrid teaching concepts have become the norm in many places since the pandemic. But they don’t always work properly — a topic of concern to academic personnel. This raises the question of how physical and digital spaces can be designed with students in mind, as it has a significant impact on decision-making processes for renovations and new buildings.

Track: Learning & Skills

Which innovative teaching concepts deserve a broad audience?  What future skills do we need and how can we anchor them in curricula? How can we rethink student-centeredness? How can concepts that have been tried and tested in practice be disseminated more widely? What insights and challenges can other key players such as companies and further education institutions contribute? How does successful upskilling work in companies and what role can universities play?

The EU commission declared 2023 the year of Skills. Accordingly, the Learning & Skills track is about didactic designs as well as the goals behind them. A special emphasis is on the broad impact: How can great examples of good teaching be disseminated? Projects that are working on scaling good teaching are therefore particularly encouraged to submit sessions.

In times of a shortage of skilled professionals, the topic of upskilling is particularly relevant. For this reason, upskilling finds its place in the Learning & Skills track — with a special focus on how universities and companies can cooperate.

Track: Empowerment & Sustainability

How do we create equity at all levels — i.e. with regard to sustainability, diversity, accessibility and access to education? Which levels of sustainability can and must a university address today? How can we shape change in a participatory way?

Equity has many dimensions. Probably the most pressing concern is preserving the planet’s viability. Tackling the climate crisis also affects universities. The Empowerment & Sustainability track also addresses several other significant debates of our time: traditional social roles and patterns are increasingly being called into question. Justice is being discussed anew — among others, in terms of gender, (perceived) ethnicity, social status, sexual identity, physical characteristics, and many more. In this track, we discuss all these issues.

Track: Openness & Vision

How can we open up higher education? Which best practices are there regarding Open Educational Resources (OER)? How do OER reach a broad audience? What are the long lines of development in higher education?What will it look like in 20 years? And how can politics contribute to positive developments?

Those who have visions, should participate at University:Future Festival. The Openness & Vision track aims at people who look at the bigger picture and are interested in openness. It is about visions, about politics,  about openness as a principle and of course about Open Educational Resources.

Track: Strategies & Management

The digitisation of higher education requires a strategic approach. How can universities do this effectively? Which examples of successful change processes exist? How are work modes improved? How can and must administration change in general, and which digital options are beneficial? How can alliances support change processes?

Digitisation is a reality in business and society. Universities need to find a constructive way of dealing with this development. In order to do so, they need individual strategies, effective structures and targeted organisational development. It also requires the establishment and strengthening of support and advisory institutions. In the Strategies & Management track, we discuss change processes in management and administration at both the conceptual and practical level.

Track: Exams & Legal

Which examination formats are appropriate and how can institutions encourage a diverse examination culture structurally? How are exams conducted successfully in the digital space? Which alternative forms of digital certificates of achievement exist? And what other legal issues need to be considered in digitalisation processes — for example, with regard to data protection?

The Exams & Legal track focuses on examination formats and technologies as well as the corresponding didactic issues. Furthermore, the track is concerned with all legal issues relevant to university management and higher education, such as data protection, accreditations and teaching regulations.

Track: AI & Technology

How can technology enhance academic education? What do students need to learn about artificial intelligence in order to be able to deal with it in a competent and responsible way? And what does it mean for individual subject areas and lecturers? How can we use Artificial Intelligence as a tool to enhance learning and teaching experiences? How can we maintain sovereignty over data and still use it effectively and efficiently? Which EdTech organizations are developing important innovations? Which technological hypes can we safely ignore — and where can we find real innovations?

Data and artificial intelligence are transforming our everyday lives and careers today. Technology is expanding our space of possibilities in education. In the AI & Technology track, we will talk about the key role that universities play in this rapid process of change. In this track, we additionally invite EdTech companies to share their ideas with the higher education community.

Track: Transfer & Networks

How does knowledge transfer take place between institutions? What are good ways to make knowledge publicly accessible? How do successful networks and collaborative alliances work and what can others learn from them?

The Transfer & Networks track is about collaboration and knowledge transfer — both to society and to other universities. Alliances and other forms of collaborations involving different higher education institutions offer great potential to find answers to common questions and to disseminate them widely, for example through participation structures and good communication.