PEEC enters research collaboration with Microsoft


Microsoft's „Microsoft Productivity Research” program awarded $ 1 million to various international research projects. With a project by Dr. Mirjam Augstein and Dr. Thomas Neumayr, PEEC was able to convince Microsoft and earn funding. This made the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria the only university outside the United States to receive funding for this program.

The Microsoft funding program, which was imposed for the first time, aims to establish sustainable cooperation with international cooperation partners and supports research projects that redefine the term “productivity”.

Microsoft has been dealing with this topic for a long time and is convinced that the ever-increasing work models such as home office and globally distributed teams have different requirements than just tools that help to work faster and more efficiently. Rather, Microsoft believes that with these flexible working models, it is necessary to assign an even greater role to the topic of collaboration in order to be able to deal with problems in a new way. They also deal with this topic in a blog post from Microsoft.

PEEC has planned a multi-stage project to develop future tools. First of all, it is necessary to describe how people work together. This was based on the preliminary work of Dr. Neumayr, whose dissertation was refined even further. As a next step, teamwork is planned over a period of 18 months. This team consists of Johannes Schönböck (Communication, Knowledge, Media), Werner Kurschl (Human-Centered Computing) and Thomas Neumayr (Communication, Knowledge, Media) under the direction of Mirjam Augstein (Communication, Knowledge, Media) on the project "Supporting Hybrid Collaboration for the Teams of Tomorrow “ and the main contact person Sean Rintel from Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK). A prototype is to be created, which carries out a more detailed analysis of the working styles used. In addition, partly experimental Microsoft technology is to be integrated into the prototype. The team is supported by a Belgian intern at the start of this project. This brings know-how from the field of artificial intelligence or machine learning. In the end, a user study should help to improve the framework again in order to form the basis for support measures for future tools.

There have already been talks with long-standing Microsoft Research employees who are particularly interested in our project and our approaches and who would like to accompany us and our findings. The highlights of the discussions included video conferences with Bill Buxton and John C. Tang.


For the second quarter of 2020, a kick-off workshop is planned to be held as an online event, to which well-known Microsoft scientists are invited. The final workshop is planned for Microsoft in Redmont in summer 2021, where all international partners will present their findings.