Lero researchers head €3.8M programme to boost European retail sector

Business | Wed 20 Sep | Author – Business & Finance
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Researchers head a €3.8 million EU programme designed to help European high-street retailers compete with online-shopping giants.

Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and sees the programme, entitled PERFORM (“Pioneering the Digital Future for Omnichannel Retail Managers”), and led by Dublin City University (DCU), prepare the next generation of digital retail managers via valuable training and research methods. This programme is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020.

A group of 15 PhD researchers, across five countries including Ireland, will be trained and managed by the PERFORM-programme members. The areas of training will take in to account digital innovation such as Internet of Things, big data; also analytics and payment systems.

Lero researcher at DCU and head of the programme Dr Markus Helfert, said: “The retail sector is one of the pillars of the European economy and accounts for about 15% of employment and 11% of GDP.

“However, many European retailers are concerned that both high street and online are losing out due to the power of the Amazons and others of this world.

“Established business models need to be revised as customer behaviour is changing. Consumers no longer prefer online or in-store purchasing but switch between channels to suit their personal requirements. Therefore, it is vital to assist European retailers in the digital transformation and the blurring of online and in-store behaviour that is occurring.”

Funding Manager of Lero, Dr Hugh Doyle, said: “The PERFORM project is an example of the successes that may be achieved by researchers in Irish universities through participation in the SFI Research Centres’ programme.

“Dr Helfert has leveraged the support and opportunities provided by Lero to build a world-class project consortium of leading European researchers.”