This year, a University of Passau team, the only selected team from Bavaria, achieved third place in the Utopie Europa 2021 national competition with their project “Real informational self-determination”. It was the first time that Passau University took part in Utopie Europa and we are proud of the students and this year’s successful participation.
Now, Prof. Tobias Kaiser, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Mathematics (FIM) met the four students taking part in this initiative, to offer his congratulations and to talk to them about the vision behind their project.
For this year’s Utopie Europa theme, “Digital Europe.” Niklas BEIERL, Kseniia VASYLIEVA and Manuel LEHNER, Passau University students, together with Corentin LAHAROTTE from INSA Lyon (France), had focused on education. When it comes to data privacy and digital self-determination, EU citizens are still often overwhelmed and un-informed. In a digitalised world, topics such as online privacy and IT security need to be addressed with/by the society. The challenge is to provide the necessary core competencies in dealing with data to a large number of various population groups. However, it is necessary to start where the infrastructure is already in place, for example at schools. To this end, in Utopie Europa, the University of Passau students presented their approach to high-level European decision-makers on last 22nd March.
Kseniia Vasylieva, Manuel Lehner, Corentin Laharotte and Niklas Beierl had already met during the international Fit Europe (Future IT Leaders for a Digitial Multicultural Europe) Passau seminar in February 2021 on big data rule tomorrow’s world?” Through Utopie Europa, the 4 students focused on the European challenges raised by this question.
They also had exchanged with Prof. Philipp Slusallek, Director of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI, invited to give a lecture at our University in early March.
“It’s nice to be heard,” emphasized Niklas Beierl, adding: “while discussing with politicians and competing with students in law, we discovered that we, students in computer science, are not sufficiently provided with the necessary skills to make us understandable by others, who are not familiar with computer science. This is something where our University could maybe further reflect?” Kseniia Vasylieva mentioned also her wish to see the idea developed within Utopie Europa become concrete, maybe through a project.
Dean of the Faculty Prof. Tobias Kaiser expressed how impressed he was by the work done: “This is great to meet such a dedication from our students. And it is very good that our students in computer science think about Europe and think about putting our thematic in the higher global and societal context!” Competitions such as the Utopie Europa Initiative, provide an excellent platform for this.