Information on the BMBF funding line “Zukunft der Arbeit: Mittelstand – innovativ und sozial” (Future of Work: SMEs – Innovative and Social)

For small and medium-sized enterprises, technological and social innovations are of crucial importance if they are to survive in global competition. The development of new concepts and tools for work design and organisation in and with small and medium-sized enterprises is urgently needed.

Innovations through digitization, Source: Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft (IAW) der RWTH Aachen University (caption courtesy by ITA)

The project “WissProKMU – Zukunft der Arbeit: Gestalten und Ver-netzen” supports 26 joint projects with small and medium-sized enterprises throughout Germany in implementing their digitisation strategy. The aim of WissProKMU is to network the joint projects and to support the transfer of results.

The joint projects are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the “Future of Work” programme and are supported by the project management agency Karlsruhe (PTKA).

Collaborative Projects of the Funding Line

All already started collaborative projects of the funding line can be found here on the WissProKMU website.

Press releases on the most recent collaborative projects can be found in the following section:


On 01.06.2019 the joint project “Internet of Things and integratives Organisationsdesign: Effects on Organisation and Employees” (IoT-OM) started. As part of the IoT-OM research project, a new type of business software is being developed that can support SMEs in introducing the IdD. The result of the project is a software for SMEs that can be filled with company-specific data and provides concrete decision-making aids for a successful introduction of the IdD. By generalising the results, applications in other sectors, such as logistics or the packaging industry, are also possible. Further information on the project can be found here.


The joint project “Socio-digital innovation through participative process design in virtual space” (SoDigital) was launched on 01.07.2019. The aim of the SoDigital research project is to develop a virtual reality instrument, the SoDigital VR Box, with the help of which business processes in SMEs can be redesigned intuitively and vividly with the participation of employees. All in all, the project contributes to lowering the entry hurdles for digital transformations in SMEs. Based on the experience gained with the prototype digitalized business processes, recommendations will be provided for further SMEs and the transfer to business processes through the SoDigital transformation platform. You can find the announcement of the project start here.


On 01.09.2019 the joint project “Development of a privacy management system for personalized assistance systems in production and service” (PersonA) started. The central approaches of the system to be created are Privacy Control (employee-tailored private area) and Privacy-by-Design (legally compliant data collection and processing). As a result, the PersonA system creates more acceptance for the use of innovative digital assistance systems while at the same time complying with data protection regulations. You can find the announcement of the project start here.

Online Presence of Collaborative Projects

Some projects already have their own Internet presence to inform about the activities in the project, to present intermediate results and to share their own perspectives.

Here you will find all projects with their own website: aSTAR, AVIKOM, BauPrevent, DigiKomp-Ambulant, DigiWerk, ESKODIA, IN-DIG-O, FlexDeMo, KoMiK, ProBot, ProdiKA, SoDigital, TrueCultureDig, WiViTe, VirMont and Iot-OM.

Joint Project Activities

The first advisory board meeting of the DigiWerk joint project took place on 22 November 2019 at the Oeconomicum of the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. In addition to the university and non-university DigiWerk project partners, a total of nine experts from science and practice discussed digitalisation in the craft trades at the meeting. The press release on the advisory board meeting can be found here.

Announcement of Events

Save the Date!

The European Conference on Labour Research beyondwork2020 will take place in Bonn from 21-22 October 2020. Further information can be found here.

Innovations through digitization, Source: Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft (IAW) der RWTH Aachen University