Three Questions for Prof. Thomas Schildhauer

We were delighted to interview Prof. Thomas Schildhauer, who will be joining us at our upcoming event, The Future of Aging: Transatlantic Perspectives on Digital Health Tech, on May 31st, 2023 at UC Berkeley.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer is research and founding Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). He is also scientific director of the research group Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society. Prof. Schildhauer studied computer science at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU) and holds PhDs in the field of software marketing, information management and public health. As computer scientist, marketing expert, internet researcher he works as university professor for electronic business at the University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your educational background, and how you became interested in innovations in digital health.

My passion is to transfer digital technologies to users in a way that adds real value to them. My background is in computer science, and I worked more than 20 years in industry before moving to academia. Since then, my research focuses on internet-enabled innovation combined with open innovation methods. I did one of my PhDs in Public Health, so I´m very interested in digital health solutions.

Could you please tell us about Digital Urban Center for Aging & Health (DUCAH), which you co-founded, and some of the successes of your projects?

DUCAH is a people-focused research center for the social economy and a healthcare learning hub. It was created through an initiative of the Stiftung Internet und Gesellschaft and is a registered cooperative. Our organization aims to build a new kind of cutting-edge development between digitalization, urbanization, and health.

DUCAH conducts research primarily in outpatient/rehabilitation clinics and in hospitals located in suburbs, in cities, and in rural areas — primarily at the place where the action is in the: “Better-Living-Quarters”. Several field research projects focus on the implementation of preventive care solutions, e.g. to manage aging in a human centered way.

The market around aging is ripe for research and innovation due to the increasing share of older people in the United States and Europe. How is Germany leading in digital health tech? What are your hopes for potential partnerships here in the Bay Area in working together with CITRIS?

If we strengthen German-American research and exchange partnerships, we will add value on both sides. There are many successful and smart digital health solutions in both countries. With a combined and open innovation approach, we can help to speed up innovation and development and bring them to the market to people who needs them.