AI in studies: TU Ilmenau and University of Jena launch research project THInKI

TU Ilmenau and Friedrich Schiller University Jena are launching a joint research project today (01.12.2021) that will enable their students and teachers to gain increased knowledge and skills in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Given the increasing penetration of AI in almost all areas of society, AI offerings will be developed not only for STEM (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology) courses, but for the entire range of courses offered by the two universities. The educational programme is not only aimed at students and doctoral candidates, but also at researchers from all disciplines who are interested in artificial intelligence in higher education. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the project with around 3.8 million euros for four years.


The digitalisation of almost all areas of society is leading to an increased use of AI methods in numerous disciplines. So far, such methods have been developed and used mainly in computer science and engineering disciplines, but knowledge and skills about AI are also useful in natural sciences and increasingly in humanities and social sciences and will become more and more necessary in the future. Therefore, for university graduates, AI skills will be important prerequisites for successful career entry in the future. And these, in turn, will ensure that AI knowledge is increasingly transferred to business and society.

Development of study contents, teaching materials and qualification offers for the teaching of AI competences

The University of Jena and TU Ilmenau are reacting to this and would like to impart knowledge about artificial intelligence methods to their students in the future. In the THInKI project ("Thüringer Hochschulinitiative für KI im Studium"), the two universities will now spend four years developing study content, teaching materials and qualification offers for teachers and staff to teach AI skills. The educational programme will cover the entire range of artificial intelligence technologies and their fields of application in science and practice. The new findings will in turn be made available to other teachers as "blueprints".

Explanatory videos, exercises and quizzes as well as self-assessment tools for online-supported teaching

In addition to technical, mathematical and informational basic knowledge of AI, ethical, social, legal and pedagogical-didactic topics are taught. The practice-oriented modular training builds on existing courses and enables teaching content to be imparted to different target groups with individual levels of competence. The courses, which can be combined with one another, are offered partly at the student's own university and partly at the partner university. The course content is presented in digital formats, for example by means of explanatory videos, exercises and quizzes, as well as self-assessment tools for the online assessment of knowledge. Once students from the various disciplines at TU Ilmenau and the University of Jena have demonstrated the knowledge and skills acquired in the course offerings, they receive a cross-university certificate.

The new AI education program, which aims to make students fit for the future in the modern working world, is coordinated by the Thuringian Center for Learning Systems and Robotics (TZLR) as a joint institution of both universities.



Prof. Horst-Michael Groß

Head of Group Neuroinformatics and Cognitive Robotics / TU Ilmenau
+49 3677 69-2858


Oliver Mothes

Transfer Coordinator Science TZLR / Friedrich Schiller University Jena
+49 3641 946424