COVID-19 and its impact on research and business: How will international collaboration be transformed?

Part 3 of our interview with Nils Madeja, Professor for Digital Business at TH Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences. Please also read part 1 and part 2.

Research in Germany: How will international collaboration be transformed?

Professor Nils Madeja: I do not believe that business activities and international collaboration will return to 'business as usual'. Businesses that have seen their inbound logistics break down or received critical components too late, in a lesser quality or not at all will be looking for ways to achieve greater supply security and autonomy.

As always, trust plays an important part in this context. Of course, businesses are asking themselves whether they want to be dependent on certain countries in the future. This can mean that manufacturing companies in particular are going to resort to suppliers who are geographically closer to obtain critical components or even start (or return to) producing these parts themselves.

There is also a question mark over how international exchange will develop. The transport industry and airlines in particular have been forced to ground the majority of their fleets and slash the number of their flight crew staff.

The number of airline passengers will eventually rise again as direct exchange between research and business partners remains important. But I imagine that the number of trips taken in the foreseeable future will generally be below 2019 levels and that part of our communication will become virtual for good, whether it is via video calls or social media.

I hope that the positive changes and involuntary digital transformation that we have seen during the lockdown will help our economies and science communities to get back on their feet quickly. I see a major opportunity for us to emerge from this crisis stronger than before as well as more efficient and resilient in the long term.

Research in Germany: Thank you for your time, Professor Madeja.


University of Applied Sciences Mittelhessen
THM Business School
Prof. Dr Nils Madeja
Wiesenstraße 14
35390 Gießen

+49 641 309-2763

Twitter: @DIGIMARI1