UTC establishes an institute for advanced studies in digital transition

The ambitious aim assigned to this new structure, as of December 2018, is to set up an “excellent”* continuing education training course and establish a Chair of Contemporary & Digital Art alongside high level research on the challenges in digital transformation processes.

UTC establishes an institute for advanced studies in digital transition

he major challenge facing this IHETN (institute for advanced studies in digital transition) is to determine how it can contribute to the ongoing digital transformations in Europe. The challenge is strategic. Firstly, because digital transformation is affecting and indeed revolutionizing Society as a whole: enterprise, administrations, associations, education, defence, the arts and all sorts of forms of governance … secondly, because of the sheer domination of digital giants (for the most part, American or Chinese): the so-called GAFAMI (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM), Natu (Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla, Uber) not forgetting China’s BATX (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi).

We can rightly wonder where such powers come from. The fact is that the Old Continent is sadly behind in terms of its digital culture. “Today, we are living in a world pervaded by multinational companies who are busy imagining models for our future activities that are totally incomprehensible in Europe”, notes Prof. Yann Moulier-Boutang, chair of Economics at UTC and among the pioneers who initiated this institutional project. ”These companies have clearly foreseen the advantages that lie in offering Internet surfers free services which revolve round ‘pollination’ platforms that collect our personal data. By doing this, they can then sell their clients information as to interactions in and over the nets. Europeans, if they wish to preserve their position and rank in a global economy where all nations participate, must build their own digital culture (which cannot be reduced to simply mastering computer sciences and electronics).We must perforce understand all the implications of a digital transition, whether they be economic, industrial, legal, societal, citizen-oriented, or safety/security … we have here a crucial need for our enterprises, our territories and our Society that the future IHETN institute will address.

 Immersion in digitised cultures

IHETN will prepare and organize 5 thematic seminars about the strategic challenges that underpin digital transition: digital aspects of legal innovation; Industrie 4.0 and future work; digital culture and imagination; ‘civic tech’ and novel citizenships; cybersecurity. Comparisons with the results of high level resrecah activities will provide matter for “excellent” training modules, enabling managers and promising executive candidates in enterprise, administration and associations to immerse themselves in the digital universe; new imaginative economic models that drive innovation in the Silicon Valley, to analyse the impact of a digital world on work, on the way enterprises are organized and likewise public policy are framed and implemented (see box). The course (approx. 250h) with a university diploma, will be opening end-2018.

The institute will also offer a ‘first degree’ level course. This will address not only excellent students (near graduates) and bursaries will bez made available to follow the above management course. The Institute will also participate in the creation of a Chair for Contemporary & Digital art that will house artists on campus. The objective here is to help UTC student engineers to develop their personal creativity and to train them to better understand the relationships between contemporary art, the digital world and innovation.

To fulfil its 3 missions, UTC can rely on cutting edge skills, notably at its UTC-Costech Lab (knowledge, organization and technology intensive systems) and UTC-Heudiasyc (heuristics and diagnosis of complex systems). But there will also be support from front line partners, such as the CNEAI (national centre for art & image edition), who will co-create the Chair. Research and training in the field of cyber security will be co-organised with the IHEDN (institute for advanced studies in national defence) a public establishment that reports to the French Prime Minister. Moreover, the workshop on legal innovation and the digital world which began in June 2018, involves the universities of Aix-(Marseille, Poitiers and Toulouse 1 Capitole, as well as a law office, Bamboo & Bees, specialized in innovation and will lead to cooperation with the universities of Nouvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) and the laboratory for Cyber-justice at the universities of Montréal and McGill (Canada).

Prof. Yann Moulier-Boutang will chair the Institute’s advisory scientific committee. UTC, with this ambitious project, will position itself at the forefront of research and training in regard to the digital transition in Europe. Several companies have already confirmed that they will register managers for the IHETN course (the banks Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Consort NT, …). n


Five continuing education training modules

•     Digitization and transformation of the economy and value: cognition capitalism, new economic models…

•     Digitization, production, organization and framing of public policy: consequences of digitization on work, industries and 4.0 service sectors; uberization, robotics, transformation of public policies…

•     Digitization and social innovation, digital cultures: open digital protocols (makers, hackers, Fab’Labs…), imaginary phenomena in a digitized world, notably the key role played by ‘sci-fi’ in entrepreneurial culture in the Silicon Valley…

•     Sciences and technologies in a digital world: artificial intelligence (AI), algorithmics, alternative prediction models used in AI, internet web mapping …

•     Digital intelligence and security measures in/for organizations: a status report of today’s and tomorrow’s threats (cyberattacks, cyber hacking…), the European General Data Protection Regulation on (GDPP)*, cyphering, cloud…

/* Applicable as of May 25, 2018 in the EU.


Contact : François Velu, Director, Continuing Education UTC ; e-mail : françois.velu@utc