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Where humans meet technology

Eleven questions for Dr. Angelika C. Bullinger-Hoffmann, Professor of Ergonomics and Innovation Management since April 2014

  • Prof. Dr. Angelika C. Bullinger-Hoffmann and her team have been engaged in the research on driver assistance systems for quite some time. Photo: Hendrik Schmidt

Prof. Dr. Angelika C. Bullinger-Hoffmann holds the Chair of Ergonomics and Innovation Management at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering since April 2014. In eleven answers she gives the readers of “University News“ an insight into her career, goals and time in Chemnitz.

What do we actually understand by “ergonomics and innovation management“?

Ergonomists design workplaces where products are created or services rendered in a way which allows workers to keep active and healthy. Which products and services are created, that is the responsibility of researchers and practitioners in innovation management.

TU Chemnitz is for me as a professor the right choice, because...

... the interdisciplinarily working chair of Ergonomics and Innovation Management, which is grounded in the faculty of Mechanical Engineering, perfectly fits to the key area of “Human factors in technology” at TU Chemnitz.

Could you say a few words about your academic career?

After studying in Switzerland and France, I got my PhD from TU München and then wrote my habilitation thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and the University of Pennsylvania, PA. In April 2012, I became interim chair of Ergonomics and Innovation Management, to which I was appointed two years later.

Describe your study time in about 15 words.

I started very broadly, was allowed to deepen various exciting areas with many inspiring people, and have finally arrived at the interface of a set of disciplines. In this mediating role, I have been thinking and working ever since.

Did you have role models during your studies who encouraged you to pursue a scientific career?

I had the good fortune to experience some charismatic professors in studies and their passion for teaching and research was contagious. They have shown me that research can be a vocation which brings delight and enthusiasm.

What advice would you give young students and graduates?

Dream big und work for it! If you really want something and you strive for it, you will succeed.

What would you like to achieve in the teaching for the future?

I am driven by the success of teaching and learning in mass undergraduate courses. For example, in one of mine are 250 students, which obviously complicates interaction and discussion. That is why, since the fall of 2012, we have been working to improve this situation by a change in the teaching concept. Thanks to “Lernpraxis im Transfer”, a project concerned to improve teaching at TU Chemnitz, we now have a mobile app that supports the exchange between students and teachers inside and outside the classroom.

Which impact do you make in the research at TU Chemnitz?

My team and I work to design socio-technical systems which bring together humans and technology in an ergonomic process, creating usable products and services. Currently, the smart factory and internet of things are of particular interest. In this field, we support the factory workers in dealing with the new technical possibilities. We also aim to design automated driving which is both pleasant and safe for the driver. Another example of our activities is the support of the collaborative innovation process, where we are actively involved with our “Innovation Engineering Lab”.

There are around 45,000 professors at German universities. What sets you apart from others?

I very much hope that everyone is unique!

Which place do you show your guests the most in Chemnitz?

The Felsendome in Rabenstein with its entertaining guides is a beautiful start, especially for those who have never been in a mine.

How do you play a part in the life of the city?

At present, probably the most strongly with the initiative “Morgenstadt” (city of the future) where Chemnitz is on its way to become the CO2-neutral, energy-efficient and citizen-centric city of the future.

Further information about the chair at: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/mb/ArbeitsWiss/

(Translation: Nataliia Boiko)

Katharina Thehos

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