Fast forward digital: A new kind of university



The student is the centre of our universe, our only true asset, our raison d’être. Not research. Not the government. Not societal impact. The digital world has shown the devastating impact if we get this wrong. We can only succeed if we mobilise our students and alumni and reach out to all learners. We must reverse the dependency. Why not give students the money as Educoins in our educational blockchain? Let them decide. Make them co-creators in our research.

In his valedictory address, Professor Peter Vervest explores the disruptive effects of digitalisation on business and extrapolates what this will mean for university education and research. He argues in favour of digitally enabled, personalised learning paths and support for students combined with modularisation of the learning portfolio and challenge-based engagement of students in the research agenda. Education and research are two sides of the same coin. In the digital world, universities can succeed if they digitally reach out to students and alumni to engage in ongoing research and learning.

This requires deep investments in digital technologies and a profound transformation of the university system and metrics.

The address will be preceded by a debate at 13:00 on the theme of his speech.
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About Peter Vervest

Peter Vervest is Professor of Information Management and Networks Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University.

Peter Vervest came to Rotterdam School of Management as a student in 1976. After graduating in law and management science, he joined Philips Telecommunications in the early days of connecting computers to telecommunication networks (1979). Peter specialised in open information systems (“Open Systems Interconnection”) and graduated summa cum laude (1986) at Delft University of Technology. He was appointed professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1992. Peter combines academic and business life, was divisional director of Philips Electronics, UK (1987), co-founded a high-tech software and project firm (London, 1991), and is a partner at D-Age, a group of high-tech counsellors and investment managers (2000).

Since 2004 his research has focused on “smart business networks” with several key publications (e.g., Smart Business Networks, 2004 and The Network Experience, 2008). As chair of the Complexity programme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (2011-2018), he explored new ways to get a grip on complex business and societal challenges that result from our deeply connected world. He believes a digital transformation of education, universities specifically, is mandatory and unavoidable to empower our young generation to deal with the networked future.