Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI


HPI looks forward to its second Humboldt Professorship: Award for AI expert and lawyer Prof. Sandra Wachter

AI expert Prof. Sandra Wachter has been successfully nominated for a “Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence 2025” and will teach and research at the joint Digital Engineering Faculty of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and the University of Potsdam (UP). The professorship is endowed with 3.5 million euros - making it the most highly endowed international award for research in Germany. It is awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Prof. Dr. Sandra Wachter has been working at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford since 2017 and has been teaching there as Professor of Technology and Regulation since August 2022. Her research has focused on legal and ethical aspects of artificial intelligence, robotics and big data, as well as internet and platform regulation. Prof. Wachter has won numerous awards for her research in this area and has also acted as a policy advisor to governments, companies and non-governmental organizations on ethical and regulatory issues of new technologies. Prof. Wachter's work on Explainable AI - a field of research that aims to make AI decision-making more comprehensible - has been implemented by Google, IBM and Microsoft, among others.

As AI applications become more widespread and commercialized, Prof. Wachter's field of research is becoming increasingly relevant. The more complex and influential AI algorithms become, the more necessary it is to make them transparent and understandable in order to ensure ethical and responsible use.

Prof. Sandra Wachter is the second Humboldt Professor to be appointed to HPI within a short period of time - following health economist Prof. Ariel Dora Stern last year. Prof. Dr. Tobias Friedrich, HPI Managing Director and Dean of the joint Digital Engineering Faculty of HPI and the University of Potsdam: “We are very pleased that we are such an attractive workplace for top international researchers. With Prof. Wachter, we will further expand our research and teaching on artificial intelligence. In this dynamic field, young scientists at HPI in particular will benefit greatly from this."

At HPI, Prof. Wachter would like to especially devote herself to interdisciplinary research in technology law and AI regulation. Topics such as the regulation of generative AI, algorithmic fairness and explainability as well as the ethics of AI play a special role in this regard.

Prof. Sandra Wachter: “It is hard to put into words what an honor it is to be awarded a Humboldt Professorship. I am overwhelmed to receive this research award. And to furthermore be given the opportunity to conduct research and teach at HPI and the University of Potsdam is an incredible privilege! HPI stands for innovation, drive and applied science and I am looking forward to working with the researchers and students."  

Subject to the approval of the university committees and the successful conclusion of the appointment negotiations, Prof. Wachter will come to Potsdam in 2025 to begin her work at HPI.

About the Hasso Plattner Institute

The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in Potsdam is Germany's university center of excellence for digital engineering, advancing research and education in IT systems engineering, data engineering, cyber security, entrepreneurship, and digital health. With its bachelor‘s and master’s degree programs, the Faculty of Digital Engineering, established jointly by HPI and the University of Potsdam, offers innovative engineering- and application-oriented study programs. At present, more than 1000 students are enrolled in the program. HPI consistently earns a top-notch place in the CHE University Ranking.  The d-school, HPI’s School of Design Thinking, is Europe’s first innovation school for university students. It is based on the Stanford model of the d.school and offers 160 places annually for a supplementary study. The HPI School of Entrepreneurship, or E-School for short, supports and motivates students to recognize and take advantage of the potential of entrepreneurial thinking and action. A strong focus is placed on the transfer of ideas and digital technologies into customer- and market-centered products and start-ups. At HPI there are currently twenty-two professors and about 50 lecturers. HPI conducts research noted for its high standard of excellence in its IT topic areas. PhD candidates carry out research at the HPI Research Schools in Potsdam and its branches in Cape Town and Irvine. The focus of HPI’s teaching and research is on the foundations and applications of large, highly complex and networked IT systems. In addition, HPI concentrates on the development and research of user-oriented innovations for all areas of life.

The Hasso Plattner Institute is a flagship initiative of the Hasso Plattner Foundation, rooted in the belief that innovation and education can drive positive social change. HPI exemplifies this mission and demonstrates the Foundation's commitment. The Foundation's philanthropic efforts span the areas of Science and Education, Social and Conservation, as well as Art and Culture.