Hertie School Data Science Lab selected for membership in Stifterverband’s Innovation Club

Slava Jankin and team among finalists for Stifterverband and Dieter Schwarz Foundation prize.

The ’s new Data Science Lab has won a 15,000-euro prize from the German Stifterverband and the Dieter Schwarz Foundation, as well as membership in their prestigious Innovation Club. Slava Jankin, Director of the Hertie School Data Science Lab and Simon Munzert, Lecturer in Political Data Science at the Hertie School, were among eight finalists in the InnovationHubs@Campus competition, which began with 90 entries from 85 higher education institutions. At a public jury meeting on 25 March, Jankin and his team presented their plans for the cutting-edge centre, which will leverage data science and artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle major societal problems.

The InnovationHubs@Campus initiative fosters spaces for learning, research and innovation at German universities. Three universities won the top prizes of 250,000 euros, while the remaining finalists received 15,000 euros each in funding and a membership in the initiative’s Innovation Club.

The Hertie School Data Science Lab leverages and amplifies breakthroughs in data science and artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle major societal problems. It combines the Hertie School’s ethics, governance and data science expertise to foster, advance and promote excellence in data science research, education and applications to enable better decision-making for the common good.

The funding will be used to develop two key aspects of the Data Science Lab: Challenge Labs, which tackle “wicked problems” by collaborating with public institutions such as social service agencies, schools, hospitals or law enforcement; and Incubators, which train key staff from such organisations in how to use data science so they can bring this knowledge to their own institutions for developing policy solutions. 

Data science labs use computational power and methodological approaches like machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing. The Hertie School’s lab is built on three core pillars: an innovative research profile with a focus on data science for the public good; a training program for the general public in data science skills and AI technologies; and a structured outreach and knowledge exchange program working with industry, government and civil society to maximize societal and economic benefits.

"The support of the Stifterverband and the Dieter Schwarz Stiftung is required to develop the Data Science Lab into a leading centre for policy applications of data science and artificial intelligence nationally and internationally," Jankin said in the proposal.

The Hertie School Data Science Lab is integral to the university’s 2018-2023 strategic plan, aimed at significant growth in several areas. It is a central element of the school’s five new Centres of Competence that complement its established focus on governance. New professorships in ethics and technology, fundamental rights, and digital governance will also be key to this strategy. The school’s significant connections in the public and private sectors, as well as to foundations, think tanks and other third-sector institutions will also allow the exchange of research and knowledge, training and capacity building.


More about Slava Jankin and Simon Munzert

  • Simon Munzert , Assistant Professor of Data Science and Public Policy