2 min

Building Social and Technical Bridges

Project of the St. Pölten UAS on the issue of building bridges and integration

Building Social and Technical Bridges
Copyright: Michael Lifka Photography

The project “bridging gaps“ teaches kindergarten and elementary school kids about the technique and construction of bridges and thus raises awareness for overcoming social barriers.

The kids develop their own app for a technical inspection of bridges and attend workshops on integration and migration. Researchers with migration background serve as role models for careers in research. Interested school classes can still participate in the project.

Building bridges, creating links

In the project “Bridging gaps“, the functioning of a real bridge as well as its planning, cost calculation, and maintenance are demonstrated and researched in cooperation with kindergarten and school kids. Simultaneously, the symbolic meaning of bridging social gaps based on education and origins are discussed and reflected upon.

“By means of the project the children’s understanding for social differences based on origins, gender and education and their interest in natural sciences, technique, research and innovation are to be increased. The project shows that technicians also need economic and social competences and the ability for interdisciplinary exchange next to their technical knowledge“, explains Frank Michelberger, the head of the project and of the Carl Ritter von Ghega Institute for Integrated Mobility Research at the St. Pölten UAS.

Role models of research and migration

Researchers with migration background are integrated in the project as role models of extraordinary careers. These are Hirut Grossberger and Özgür Tasdelen. Grossberger is a researcher at the Carl Ritter von Ghega Institute for Integrated Mobility Research. The Ethiopian female technician completed two master programmes and did her dissertation at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. The focus of her research work is bridge construction.

Grossberger developed a method for the inspection of bridges via tablets and smartphones, which the kids are also going to work with in the project. In the course of the project, the kids are going to develop an app for the inspection of bridges. In doing so they are supported by the researcher Kerstin Blumenstein and by Iosif Miclaus, a student and research assistant with a Romanian background of the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies.

Özgür Tasdelen is a researcher at the Ilse Arlt Institute on Social Inclusion Research of the St. Pölten UAS. The researcher with Turkish migration background completed the study programmes Business Administration and Political Science. For kids with migration background, it is of crucial importance to experience people with a migrant biography in the role as scientists. This can counteract stereotypes.

Workshops on integration

Susanne Binder, also researcher at the Ilse Arlt Institute on Social Inclusion Research, creates together with Özgür Tasdelen the programme of the workshops on integration and migration. “The aim of the workshops is to reflect the social and symbolic meaning of bridges in society. Especially in societies (and in particular in kindergartens and class rooms) characterized by cultural diversity it matters a lot to actively approach each other and to enable encounter - building bridges and creating links“, says Binder.

Project bridging gaps

The project is sponsored by the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology. Partners of the project are the exit14 Media Agency (Wolfgang Almstädter) and im-plan-tat Raumplanungs-GmbH & Co KG (Martina Scherz). Participating kindergartens and schools are the Kindergarten Neu-Viehofen as well as the HTL Krems, BHAK/BHAS St. Pölten, NNÖNMS St. Pölten-Viehofen, NNÖMS Theodor Körner III and the Elementary School St. Pölten-Viehofen.

More about project bridging gaps

Smart Inspection – Innovative Maintenance of Railway Bridges