Woman stands in production hall in front of robot and holds tablet in hand Copyright: © ipopba - stock.adobe.com Project logo AKzentE4.0  

Human Factors Competence Center for Employment in Industrie 4.0


Key Info

Basic Information

01.10.2021 to 30.09.2026
Research Area:
Work Scientific Support of Change and Transformation Processes | Integrated Research for Work Innovations

Further Information



Verena Nitsch

Institute Director


+49 241 80 99440




The phase-out of coal-fired power generation is leading to significant structural changes in Germany, which are accompanied by economic losses and job losses in many areas. The “Human Factors Competence Center for Employment in Industrie 4.0”, or AKzentE4.0 for short, is being funded with around 12 million euros and is concerned with the humane introduction and implementation of Industrie 4.0 concepts and technologies in the Aachen region.

The competence center is concerned with the question of how digital technologies and artificial intelligence can be used to promote the competitiveness of regional companies and make structural changes in the region socially sustainable.


The Aachen region is characterized by a unique mix of high-tech and production expertise, supported by mainly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and renowned universities.

Technologies and concepts of Industrie 4.0, especially AI-based applications, have so far been implemented by only a few companies in the region. The reasons range from a lack of know-how to reservations about the benefits for the companies and their employees. There is a need for support in the development and introduction of new technologies, as well as a need to study their impact on working people and working conditions. At the same time, this opens up a venue for action and decision-making that must be used to shape a technologically and socially innovative working world of the future.


The overall objective of the project is to establish a Competence Center in Aachen for the field of employment in Industrie 4.0, to test it and at the same time to develop an implementation strategy for its continuation in the future. Industrie 4.0 technologies, in particular AI-based applications, are to be researched in terms of their potential for workplace and work design, which are to be made tangible for companies. In consortial projects, work science methods and procedures will be developed that can be used for participative and prospective work design as well as for ergonomic assessment. In addition, innovative concepts for technology transfer as well as qualification measures and (re)training programs will be developed.


The three central components of the Aachen Competence Center are:

  • Infrastructure: mixed reality model factory for testing and further developing innovative approaches and evaluating parameters of work design, which can be continuously expanded through operational components and innovative demonstrators, as well as an openly accessible knowledge repository.
  • Networking: various networking formats to exchange with and involve local actors, clusters and institutions
  • Methods: Work science evaluation methods and work design strategies for human-centered work design in the age of digitalization


This research and development project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding measure “Future of Work: Regional Competence Centers of Labor Research. Designing new forms of work through artificial intelligence” in the program “Innovations for tomorrow's production, services and work” (funding code: 02L19C400) and supervised by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA).

Project Partners

Scientific Partners
Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics of RWTH Aachen University
Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University
Lehrgebiet Robotik und Grundlagen der Informatik, Fachhochschule Aachen
Lehrgebiet Fahrzeugsysteme und Grundlagen der Elektrotechnik, Fachhochschule Aachen

Fachbereich Medien, Hochschule Düsseldorf

FIR e.V. at RWTH Aachen University

Implementation Partners
MA&T Sell & Partner GmbH
Vereinigte Unternehmerverbände Aachen e. V.
Stadt Aachen (Fachbereich Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft, Digitalisierung und Europa)
Handwerkskammer Aachen

Application Partners
Aurubis Stolberg GmbH & Co. KG
DIRKRA Sondermaschinenbau GmbH & Co.KG
Fecken-Kirfel GmbH & Co. KG
Lauscher Präzisionstechnik GmbH
Lebenshilfe Aachen Werkstätten & Service GmbH
Wagner GmbH Eschweiler

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