August 8, 2018: Professors conduct research into digital education, electronic textiles, digital communication and data

The Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) has expanded its spectrum: On August 1, three professors from Berlin University of the Arts began working at the ECDF. They have joined the Digital Society and Humanities research area. The professorship for Data Science and Analytics at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW Berlin) was also filled on July 1, 2018.  

The Berlin University of the Arts has successfully appointed three of its four ECDF professorships at the same time. Professor Berit Greinke PhD has taken over the professorship for Wearable Computing, Professor Dr. Max von Grafenstein is the professor for Leadership in Digital Communication – Focus on Digital Self-Determination, and Professor Dr. Daniel Hromada now holds the professorship for Digital Education. Dr. Helena Mihaljević has been appointed professor for Data Science and Analytics at HTW Berlin (University of Applied Sciences).  This opens up new opportunities for cooperation in the existing professorships. "Our professorships are deliberately designed to be interdisciplinary and involve research at the intersection of different fields. This means that the ECDF is a research hub that brings together computer scientists, designers, medical experts, sociologists and physicists,” says Professor Dr. Odej Kao, Chairman of the ECDF Executive Board.

About the Newly Appointed Professors

Prof. Dr. Max von Grafenstein 
Grafenstein was born in Munich and after leaving school he worked for two years in a creative role in the film industry, producing his own short films. He then decided to study law in Regensburg. After his first state examination, he spent some time in other European countries before completing his articles in Munich. “After that I worked for a short time at UFA, a German TV and film production company based in Potsdam, before gaining a further qualification in ‘the European film industry’ in Paris and Ludwigsburg.” With these extra strings to his bow, he returned to Berlin and founded a startup. From 2016 untill July 2018 Max von Grafenstein has headed up the research program Governance of Data-Driven Innovation at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). He joined HIIG as a PhD student in 2013. The key question of my doctorate was how to design data protection law so that it effectively protects against the risks of data-based innovation without unnecessarily inhibiting innovation – and perhaps even fostering it,” says Grafenstein. Today, Max von Grafenstein’s project work focuses on new challenges in the digital world. He is particularly interested in the “data protection by design” approach, which aims to incorporate the requirements of data protection law into the technical and organizational design of data-based products and companies in such a way that they effectively protect users’ fundamental rights. The professorship in Digital Self-Determination addresses a highly topical issue for us in research and teaching, says Principal Investigator Professor Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer, who acquired the funding for the professorship.  It is co-financed by Deutsche Kreditbank AG (DKB).

Prof. Dr. Berit Greinke  
Greinke grew up in Schleswig-Holstein and began her professional career with an apprenticeship in screen printing before studying Textile and Surface Design at Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin. She then relocated to London to study a master’s degree in Design for Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. In 2011, Greinke began her PhD at the Doctoral Training Centre in Media and Arts Technology at Queen Mary University of London. More recently she conducted research in the group Connected Textiles at the Design Research Lab led by Professor Dr. Gesche Joost at the UdK. For her junior professorship, she plans to focus on four overlapping research questions, all of which are connected to materials. One is “performing materials”, and the question of how smart materials and digital technologies lead to new forms of expression in textile and fashion design. The junior professorship is co-financed by SAP under the PPP model. 

Prof. Dr. Daniel Hromada
Born in Slovakia, he obtained a bachelor's degree in humanities in Prague before completing a second bachelor’s in linguistics with a focus on computer linguistics in Nice. “That’s where I really became interested in the development and acquisition of language in the human brain and in natural language processing,” says Hromada. From there, he went to Paris to complete a Master’s in Human and Natural Cognition, where one of the areas he worked on was the digital recognition of facial expressions. In his doctorate, he developed and investigated evolutionary models of the ontogenesis of linguistic categories. His professorship in digital education will focus on the research and development of digital tools to enable language-based, cognitive and narrative learning of reading, writing and arithmetic skills for elementary school children. The Cornelsen Verlag supports and co-finances the professorship.

Prof. Dr. Helena Mihaljević

The mathematician brings a wealth of practical experience to the university from several years working as a data scientist in the private sector. “I am particularly interested in applied research in the areas of statistical data analysis, data mining, machine learning and natural language processing, as well as in the transparency of algorithmic methods – an increasingly important area. The use of data analysis for social issues is an area I find especially appealing,” says Mihaljevic. Born in Sarajevo, she came to Germany in the mid-1990s. After studying mathematics in Göttingen, she completed a PhD in dynamic systems in Liverpool and went on to work as a research assistant at Kiel University. She decided against a classic academic career in pure mathematics and moved to the Berlin base of the Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure (FIZ Karlsruhe). Mihaljevic is very much looking forward to working with other colleagues at the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF). “Data plays an important role in most digital fields, and algorithmic methods are becoming increasingly important. This opens up interesting opportunities for cooperation within the ECDF.” The Berlin public transport provider, BVG, is co-financing her computer science professorship. 

Über das Einstein Center Digital Future

Das Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) ist ein interdisziplinäres Projekt der Technischen Universität Berlin, der Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, der Freien Universität Berlin, der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin und der Universität der Künste Berlin. Insgesamt sollen 55 Professor*innen an den Universitäten und den beteiligten Hochschulen berufen werden. Das ECDF begreift sich als hochschulübergreifender Nukleus für die Erforschung und Förderung digitaler Strukturen in Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Das mit 38,5 Millionen Euro ausgestattete Projekt will am Standort Berlin mehr Verknüpfungen im Bereich der Digitalisierung schaffen, neue Formen der Zusammenarbeit ausprobieren, sich auf innovative interdisziplinäre Spitzenforschung konzentrieren und exzellent ausgebildete junge wissenschaftliche Talente in die Hauptstadt holen. Möglich machen dieses bundesweit einmalige Private-Public-Partnership-Projekt zahlreiche Partner*innen aus der Wirtschaft, der Wissenschaft und der Politik. Das ECDF war im September 2016 von der Einstein Stiftung Berlin bewilligt worden.