Hochschulperle Open Science

Hochschulperlen are exemplary projects at universities. Every month, the Stifterverband awards a Hochschulperlel. In 2020, we were the theme sponsor and the award went to innovative projects in the field of Open Science.

  • Hochschulperle December 2020

    University of the future

    A new website organizes knowledge transfer and collects ideas for the further development of higher education. Behind the “University of the Future” project is a network around the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. The site sees itself as an exchange forum for science, politics, business and civil society. The focus is on the question of how social change can be actively shaped through research and teaching and which universities our society will need for this in the future.

    Catholisch University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

    In order to enable the transfer of new ideas into the everyday life of studying and teaching, these are thematically condensed and prepared in so-called future scenarios. This is done collaboratively with the help of an online wiki and will be accompanied by analog and digital “workshops” in the future. In addition, the website offers a media library with videos of relevant conferences and workshops. It also enables interactive online events that can be followed as livestreams. All content is freely available.

    The starting point for the website project is the “University of the Future” working group of the nationwide university network Education through Responsibility. A group of twelve representatives from various universities set it up as part of the global program “u.lab 2x – From Prototype to Eco-System Impact,” which is supported by the United Nations Development Programme, among others.

    “The website is a particularly successful example of how knowledge transfer can be organized in an innovative way and how knowledge should be prepared and made available in a contemporary way,” said the Stifterverband jury, explaining its decision. “Strengthening universities as active agents of change is more relevant than ever in the face of rapid technological, economic and social change.”

  • Hochschulperle November 2020

    The University Rainer

    An original film series from the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde (HNEE) packs sustainability topics into humorous stories. The project “HNEE Storytelling – the sustainability soap opera from Eberswalde” aims to strengthen knowledge transfer through innovative communication measures and creative stories. The mini-soap opera “Der Hochschulrainiger” is scheduled to premiere in early 2021 – a first trailer is already available.

    Video still: Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE)

    Based on the multi-award-winning comedy series “Der Tatortreiniger” by Norddeutscher Rundfunk, the HNEE project has developed the soap opera “Der Hochschulrainiger”. At the center is the character Rainer Scheurich, played by actor and cabaret artist Thomas Giegerich. On his cleaning missions inside and outside the university, the “Hochschulrainiger” deals with complex sustainability and life issues. In the process, he uses wordplay and likeable clumsiness to clear up prejudices and fears of contact.

    The three episodes of the soap opera are five to seven minutes long and were filmed on HNEE’s city and forest campus in August 2020. The mini-series, including an academic panel discussion, is scheduled to premiere in the spring and then be released on the university’s YouTube channel.

    “HNEE’s film project takes up important topics and packages them in an innovative and contemporary way,” said the Stifterverband jury, explaining its decision. “It is an excellent example of how storytelling can be used as a tool for knowledge transfer and science communication.”

    The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg.

  • Hochschulperle October 2020

    Promoting social engagement among disadvantaged young people

    Socially disadvantaged children and young people find it particularly difficult to make their concerns heard in society. Moreover, they often reject established forms of politics. The project “Promoting Social Engagement among Disadvantaged Youth” by the Faculty of Education at the University of Hamburg and the Bertelsmann Stiftung examined how youth work can help this target group participate in the democratic process. The methods developed as a result are taught in numerous training events for professionals.

    The project has developed scientifically sound and field-tested methods for children and youth work. The aim is to inspire young people with particularly difficult life circumstances to participate in democratic decision-making and to enable them to have a greater say in politics.

    In order to link the realities of life for affected children and young people with social democratic engagement, the project, which was launched in 2012, has developed a pedagogical concept. The methods it contains have been tested in practice and constantly refined. To this end, both the experiences of the pedagogical staff and those of the young people in model projects in children’s and youth facilities in Mainz, Berlin, Magdeburg and Halberstadt were scientifically surveyed and evaluated.


    The results of this work have been published in a three-volume series of books and are being put into practice through various training programs for children and youth work – for example, at annual summer academies organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, each attended by more than 200 participants. Large statewide agencies and specialized authorities (such as the state youth welfare offices of Westphalia-Lippe, Rhineland and Berlin) have also recognized the practice-relevant quality of the concept and adopted it in their own training courses.

    “The democratic participation of all members of our society is the basis for the continued existence of our democracy, especially in times of increasing disenchantment with politics,” said the Stifterverband jury, explaining its decision. “The project by the University of Hamburg and the Bertelsmann Stiftung makes a great contribution here and combines theoretical research and practice in an impressive way.”

  • Hochschulperle September 2020

    Erfurt Open Science Initiative

    Open Science promises more robust findings for science, business and society. The goal of the University of Erfurt’s Open Science Initiative (EFOSI) is to increase the transparency of social and behavioral science research and improve the reliability of its results. To this end, those involved organize various workshops and training sessions on the topic of Open Science for all interested parties at the university, in order to support themselves and others in the introduction and implementation of methods in the field of “Open Science” and to exchange experiences in doing so.

    The website of the Erfurt Open Science Initiative also presents the initiative’s own activities that address Open Science in research and teaching. In addition, the members follow what is happening internationally in the areas of research transparency and Open Science, and provide information on this in their network.

    The Erfurt Open Science Initiative (EFOSI) at the University of Erfurt aims to make social and behavioral science research more transparent.

    An important goal of EFOSI is also to establish Open Science in teaching and to convey the importance of transparent research to students already. To this end, the project participants introduce students to Open Science practices and promote the application of these methods in qualification work. On an institutional level, the initiative ensures that its goals are firmly anchored, for example by working to ensure that Open Science criteria are taken into account in appointment and hiring decisions and in examination regulations at the University of Erfurt.

    The initiative is made up of students, doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, and professors from various social and behavioral science disciplines, and is supported by the University of Erfurt’s Research Data Management Service Office.

    “The Erfurt Open Science Initiative takes a holistic approach to strengthening Open Science in research, teaching and at the institutional level,” said the Stifterverband jury on the decision to award the University Pearl Open Science to Thuringia in September. “With the project, the University of Erfurt succeeds in institutionalizing this important topic, and information and continuing education offerings are made visible.”

  • Hochschulperle August 2020

    Transfer Together

    Transfer, innovation and a new culture of openness are also gaining strategic importance at universities. The aim of the “Transfer Together” project at Heidelberg University of Education is to transfer innovations in educational science to extracurricular venues in the region and to develop new concepts for current social issues together with partners. In this way, the participants aim to create added value for society and strengthen the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. At the same time, the university’s expertise as a player in educational science is to be made visible on the market. To this end, “Transfer Together” establishes, among other things, regional cooperation networks and strategic partnerships in the field of education.

    An important component of the work of “Transfer Together” is the organization and support of events such as workshops, science slams, lectures and bar camps. These different event formats, which are free, low-threshold, and open to all, invite substantive engagement with societal challenges. In return, researchers receive feedback from the public.

    For optimal networking in the region, the university works closely with Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar GmbH, which acts as an interface between the university and stakeholders in the metropolitan region. An education transfer office was established for this purpose. On a joint blog, the stakeholders write about intercultural education, Open Science and start-up culture, provide insights into their work and report on events. In the podcast “Transfer Together,” the team talks with guests from different areas of life and work about topics such as start-ups, social media and science, STEM education, health promotion or intercultural education.

    The “Transfer Together” project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the Innovative University funding initiative of the federal and state governments.

    “Transfer is not a one-way street. We only gain new ideas and perspectives through constant exchange,” said the Stifterverband jury on the decision to award the University Pearl of Open Science to Heidelberg in August 2020. “With the ‘Transfer Together’ project, Heidelberg University of Education has succeeded in establishing a sustainable transfer culture that reaches different target groups thanks to a comprehensive methodological approach.”

  • Hochschulperle July 2020

    Luckenwalde Outreach Center: Wildau University of Technology and Potsdam University of Applied Sciences

    The award goes to the Luckenwalde presence center initiated by the universities in the Teltow-Fläming district of Brandenburg. In an 800-square-meter hall of a commercial farm, the aim is to test how universities can cooperate with companies, the Luckenwalde region and civil society. This is because the predominantly rural region of Brandenburg lacks direct access to universities. Among other things, the project is intended to help make the offerings of Brandenburg’s universities more visible in order to attract young people to take up a course of study. But it is also about bringing graduates of the universities into contact with the region and its business landscape as skilled workers.

    The Luckenwalde office offers various innovative formats. These include, for example, a maker space, i.e. an open workshop, or a co-working space where people from different institutions can work together on ideas. New technologies can be tested in a test environment. The resulting prototypes can be exhibited for user tests, for example, in order to discuss them with potential partners from companies, potential users and actors from civil society.

  • Hochschulperle June 2020 / Corona Spezial

    DaZ Buddies: Chew my ear off!

    The last university pearl special of the Stifterverband goes to Bavaria to the University of Augsburg in June. Students from the Department of German as a Second and Foreign Language volunteer to support schoolchildren whose first language is not German by offering conversation and learning assistance in learning German in a 1-to-1 setting. This is because children and young people who are just learning German are particularly hard hit by the loss of normal school activities. Not only do they lose contact with friends and classmates, but also with the German language.

    The DaZ-Buddies of the University of Augsburg get involved with these students by (video-) calling, chatting or emailing with them. In doing so, the students respond to the individual situation of the children and adolescents in a needs-oriented manner. They help with homework, read aloud, offer language games or simply let the youngsters “talk their ear off,” for example in the form of an informal chat about whatever is on the child’s mind. The offer is very popular: over 90 students are already taking part in the “DaZ Buddies” project.

  • Hochschulperle June 2020

    KIT's "Science for All" Project

    With its project “Science for All”, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) wants to clarify the question “How can science communication succeed with target groups that have not been reached so far?”.

    In order to address this question not only theoretically, three exemplary target groups were more intensively involved in the project, which have hardly been reached by previous science communication: Residents of socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, vocational school students, and Muslim youths with a migration history. KIT researchers, together with Wissenschaft im Dialog and the Robert Bosch Stiftung as well as with representatives of the target groups not reached so far, developed communication formats and tested one pilot project each: a research rally for young and old and a Science&Poetry Slam in Berlin as well as a Science Pub Quiz Science and Craft in Karlsruhe.

    The implementation of the pilot projects is scientifically accompanied and evaluated by KIT. If the developed formats are successful and achieve the desired effect, the results will be summarized in practical guidelines and recommendations for action and made available to other actors in science communication. The aim is for all interested parties to benefit from this project and to receive suggestions for bringing unreached target groups into contact with science and research in the future.

  • Hochschulperle May 2020 / Corona Spezial

    TU4U - SelfE of the TU Chemnitz

    The Chemnitz University of Technology supports its students with the project “TU4U – SelfE” (Self-Organised E-Learning) in the current Corona crisis in online studies. This is because the lack of structure in everyday face-to-face study, the lack of personal exchange in the lecture hall and in study groups, or the often challenging handling of the many new online tools lead to a loss of motivation and procrastination among many learners. “TU4U – SelfE” helps them to organize themselves better in their own four walls and to work more motivated.

  • Hochschulperle May 2020

    Science Podcast Young and Joyless of the University Hospital Freiburg

    Mental illnesses are often still taboo in the public. Many people have prejudices and shy away from dealing with the topic. The science podcast “Jung und Freudlos” (Young and Joyless) of the University Hospital Freiburg wants to change that: Every two weeks, it provides students and anyone else interested with entertaining and stimulating information about mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders, depression or alcohol addiction, thus helping to destigmatize these topics. Every 14 days, two doctors and a medical student answer questions about mental illnesses and psychiatry-related topics. In addition, there are always experts who are interviewed about their specialties.

  • Hochschulperle April 2020 / Corona Spezial

    From April to June 2020, the Stifterverband will award a Hochschulperle Special three times. In doing so, it promotes exemplary new ideas and projects that show how research, teaching and testing can succeed in times of corona crisis.

    "ELBs help in digital teaching" at TH Wildau.

    Student and non-student e-learning advisors* support lecturers in online teaching. In this way, university lecturers* can supplement face-to-face teaching, promote individual learning and conserve resources by making teaching and learning material available online. In the current Corona crisis, the originally purely student ELBen team has been strengthened by experts from the Center for Quality Development and the University Computer Center at Wildau Technical University. The goal was to ensure the online launch of the 2020 summer semester. The collaboration enabled the university to convert its face-to-face teaching to online operation within one weekend. All courses, with the exception of practical laboratory exercises, have since been held online.

  • Hochschulperle April 2020

    Open Service Lab at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg

    An important concern of Open Science is to promote the transfer between research and practice. The Open Service Lab (OSL) at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) links university research on the topics of service and the future of work with business in the Nuremberg metropolitan region. The institution serves as a platform for interaction and networking between research and application in companies in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region. The OSL initiates research activities and reflects requirements from the companies back to the universities. The content focuses on topics from service research and the future of work.

  • Hochschulperle March 2020

    Transfer project "Courage and civil courage in democracy?" of METIS in Cologne

    The European Institute for Experience and Management (METIS) of the Rhenish University of Applied Sciences in Cologne is planning a transfer project with school students on the topic of “Courage and Civil Courage in Democracy?” and wants to learn from the time of National Socialism for the present. Using innovative methods of knowledge and experience management (storytelling and controlled feedback), the young people are to transfer lessons from German history to the present. Subsequently, the project will be documented for other schools in Germany with films, photos and podcasts.

  • Hochschulperle February 2020

    Open Science Center at LMU Munich

    Opening up science and research processes promises tailor-made solutions, radical innovations and novel insights for science, business and society. The interdisciplinary Open Science Center (OSC) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the first of its kind in the world in this specialist breadth, places this topic with a variety of approaches at the university and in doing so already specifically starts with the students.

  • Hochschulperle January 2020

    Open Science Lab of TIB Hannover

    The Open Science Lab (OSL) of TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology University Library in Hannover supports scientists who use the Internet as a public space for research, teaching and learning, and introduces young scientists to these approaches. The OSL shows how digital object collections can be opened up and networked in order to better discover, use and link content. It supports students and scientists who want to share their research questions and ideas publicly, collaborate with others via the Internet, or make their scientific publications freely available.