FAU becomes a Fellow University in the program “Smart Qualifiziert: MINTplus – plusMINT”


The two HTA departments “Digital Humanities and Social Studies” and “Data Science” were successful with their concept “STEM et HUMANITIES at FAU. G’scheid g’machd hält länger!” in the “Smart Qualifiziert: MINTplus – plusMINT” program of the Stifterverband and the Daimler Fund.

Interdisciplinary work between HSS and STEM subjects is part of everyday life. Digitization as a total phenomenon reaching far into the Conditio Humana leads to the fact that (supposedly) carefully separated disciplines (have to) cooperate in order to jointly deal with the opportunities and challenges of datafication and algorithmization. Real cross-disciplinary cooperation causes high transaction costs: terms have to be negotiated, scientific knowledge goals, working methods, ways of thinking and forms of results diverge. This also affects students and doctoral candidates in interdisciplinary courses and working groups and then later in mixed-disciplinary professional teams. However, it is not enough to teach the other side superficially obvious or acutely useful things, such as learning programming or attending ethics courses. What is needed is something that has a much more lasting effect: a mutual understanding of the respective ways of thinking, working, solving or naming problems, and the associated practices in the work process.


With our comprehension lessons, we aim to make the process of making each other smart more ambitious and sustainable: G’scheid g’machd hält länger! Instead of more microscopic actions in the form of courses on how to deal with data (data literacy), our approach aims to teach ways of thinking and approaches. While e.g. computer science is a solution and design oriented subject and thinks and works in terms of analyzable requirements, model building and implementation, the hermeneutic HSS subjects act discourse oriented and problematizing. While algorithms are required, among other things, to work correctly, many problems in the social world are such that the correctness of a solution cannot be objectively determined at all for lack of a general understanding of what counts as a permissible solution in the first place.

With the approach of the comprehension lessons, we promise ourselves that our students can

  1. contribute to a more differentiated and, in the best sense, more enlightened social discourse about the “3 unknowns digitalization, data and algorithms” than is currently the case with the often amateurish, uncomprehending, dystopian or utopian and thus polarizing contributions from both sides.
  2. mediate in professional life as intermediaries between the different worlds, each pursuing legitimate and meaningful ideas: Designing technology to solve problems, countering societal concerns, or formulating requirements for the design of institutions.

The work of the Fellow universities will begin in September 2021.