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Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences

HKA prize for expansion of university research in artificial intelligence

Prof. Dr. Steffen Kinkel is honored with the Research Award of Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences

March 23, 2022

"The expansion of applied research is an important goal for the further development and profiling of our university, and one measure to promote these activities is the HKA Research Award, which I am pleased to present today with a prize of 5,000 euros to Prof. Dr. Steffen Kinkel, Professor of International Business, Networked Value Creation and Innovation Management at the Faculty of Computer Science and Business Information Systems," said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz Quint, Vice-President for Research, Cooperations and Quality Management at HKA, in his laudatory speech. "With the award, we have been recognizing individual scientists or a team of researchers for outstanding research achievements and commitment to research since 2012. And today I can award the 6th HKA Research Prize to Prof. Dr. Steffen Kinkel for the expansion of the new research field of Artificial Intelligence in Socioeconomics with, among others, the joint project KARL: Artificial Intelligence for Work and Learning in the Karlsruhe Region.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key technology, and when researching it, many people first think of its technical realization. However, AI does not take place in a vacuum, but in interaction with people, for whom it can be quite a game changer. The successful implementation of AI is always dependent on human acceptance and other socio-economic aspects. Steffen Kinkel has opened up a new field of research here in no less than two of the transformation fields identified for our university – the transformation fields of AI and the world of work.

KARL is one of four centers of excellence in labor research funded nationwide, but the only one coordinated by a university of applied sciences. The project aims to establish a point of contact in the Karlsruhe region to assist local companies and their employees with all issues related to AI-supported work and learning systems. Specifically, rules, handouts, and presentable concepts of AI-supported working and learning systems will be designed and tested in practice to combine the advantages of human and artificial intelligence. The project partners KIT, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, FZI, HKA and 12 companies from the Karlsruhe region are funded with a total of 8 million euros by the BMBF. Steffen Kinkel coordinates this project through the Institute for Learning and Innovation in Networks (ILIN) and thus contributes strongly to increasing the visibility of research at HKA.

Steffen Kinkel was appointed professor at HKA in September 2012 and immediately began to establish his research activities. Already in the following year, he co-founded the Institute for Learning and Innovation in Networks, in which own research activities could be bundled.

The staff grew from initially two to now eight academic employees and a total of about 5.5 million euros in third-party funds could already be acquired for the research projects there. In addition to the "KARL" project, Steffen Kinkel has also repeatedly succeeded in generating greater attention nationally and internationally with other research projects, for example on the question of how the corona epidemic is affecting local supply chains and whether a relocation of production can be expected, whether agile and open methods can make a significant contribution to generating revenue with smart products or digitally networked services and business models, or what the potentials and challenges are for collaboration with cobots, i.e. the interaction of humans and industrial robots, or on the question of untapped value creation potential in German industry.

"With a view to a sustainable society, we are passionate about conducting practical research that is ready for application, especially in the fields of resources, mobility, information and work. This already begins in the education of our students with, among other things, study projects on current topics and our doctoral students on their way to a doctorate. In cooperations and research contracts as well as through patents and publications, we provide impulses and advise regional companies in particular, but also public institutions. I am therefore also personally very pleased to be able to honor Steffen Kinkel today, a person who has made outstanding contributions to applied research at HKA," says Prof. Franz Quint.

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