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Project Laboratories at TU Berlin since 1985

Airship "Luftfisch" one of the first student Airship-projects at TU-Berlin

What are Project Laboratories and tu projects?
Project Laboratories and tu projects give students the opportunity to self dependently work on practical, interdisciplinary and innovative projects, which are related to their regular studies and extend these. The general orientation for the projects is a socially useful, environmentmal friendly science and technology. The projects receive support and consulting services from professors and central University institutions, like kubus – the Science Shop of TU Berlin.

Learn differently: When students take over teaching
Where can you find this? Studying without professors or academic assistants, only looked after by tutors; choosing the topics yourself and having the option to get the Project Laboratory or tu project credited to one’s student account. All this is possible at TU Berlin - within the so-called „Project Laboratories for socially and ecologically useful thinking und acting“ and similar "tu projects". Any students who can find enough interested other students can realize these workshops, only having to fulfil the following conditions:

  • The projects should allude a topic that is not covered by regular studies at TU Berlin.
  • In didactic terms, the project should offer an alternative to regular teaching methods at TU Berlin.
  • The Project Laboratory and tu projects should be ecologically and socially usable and/or interdisciplinary projects.

Past and Future of the Project Laboratories and the tu projects
Due to student initiative, the Project Laboratories were established in 1985 within the „Tutor Program for Professional and Didactical Innovation“. By decision of the academic senate of TU Berlin, they have become a permanent institution. Until the end of 2010, the Laboratories were coordinated and supported by Dr. Karl Birkhölzer at the Institute for Professional Education and Ergonomics. Since 2011, Science Shop kubus has taken over this task for Project Laboratories and newly launched tu projects which are oriented towards the successful concept of Project Laboratories. In what has been more than 25 years, over 120 Project Laboratories and tu projects have been successful of which many have been awarded prizes. Some have even become regular offers at TU Berlin, e.g. Energieseminar, unirad bicycle repair shop, BlueEngineering seminar and Integrated Seminar on Environmental Technologies. In the future, the integration of the innovative aspects of the projects, e.g. Explorative Learning, Service Learning and Community-based Teaching will become more and more important.

How do I make an application for a Project Laboratory or tu project?
Applications can be submitted at any time and need to contain specific goals for two or four semesters. The applications will be examined by the LSK (Commission for Teaching and Study), who then submits it to the responsible member of the TUB chair. In addition to that, a midterm report and a final report need to be submitted after one year, respectively when the project has been finished.

What about funding?
The Project Laboratories are supported by TUB-funded student assistant jobs. tu projects are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Upon application, the LSK will agree to two tutor jobs, each 41 hours a month for one or two years for leading the project. Material support is provided in terms of available rooms, telephone and computers as well as of negligible financial contributions. This kind of broad support has often led to highly innovative results. If needed, the projects can obtain additional support for material expenses, which again needs to be agreed on by the LSK.

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Examples of former and current Project Laboratories

PWs: NaWaRo-Bike, Compact Electric Power Turbine, Planning for real

Here you can find a list of all current Project Laboratories...

LowTech workshop: The idea of this Project Laboratory is to use locally available materials to construct low-tech-technologies for self-supply. Amongst others, the project deals with local water cycles, specifically planning and constructing wetlands for waste water treatment. Project´s homepage: http://www.lowtech-selbstversorgung.de/doku.php

Radio project "Animal´s Voice": This tu project elaborates relations between humans and animals. The issue is approached philosophically and results are presented in radio features. In 2014, the project focusses on anthropological difference. Project´s weblog: http://tierstimme.blogsport.de/

Seminar "Developing Co-operation": The participants of this tu project critically look into the subject ‘Development’ and international co-operation. Concrete global projects for mutual aid and learning are developed and undertaken or existing projects are accompanied by the project attendees. Project´s homepage: http://zusammenarbeit-entwickeln.de/doku.php

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Blue Engineers: Earth is a closed system with limited resources. Therefore every engineer needs to be aware of the fact, that exponential growth is impossible in the long run. Blue-Engineers are engineers with ecological and social responsibility. They look to design technology in a way that it can be used by many people without harming the environment.In order to become a blue engineer, students must be made aware of their responsibility as early as possible. Unfortunately, most undergraduate programs focus on aspects of technology, though technology only represents one of many points of view to the wide field of being an engineer. We wish for an independent and cooperative way of thinking about chosen topics (practical examples as well as theory). Project´s homepage: http://www.blue-engineer.org

AirTrak Airship: The goal of the Project Laboratory is drawing and building an innovative hot-air airship model. The model is supposed to use little power and come with improved flight quality due to new insulation material iMeFD and a regulatory unit. The airship can be remote controlled and is built for outside missions. It will be about 10m long and have a volume of approximately 30 m3.The airship can undertake various tasks. The actual load could be a pivoting camera for survey of land or an atmospheric-physical measuring device to collect meteorological or environmental data. Measurements could take place on a regular basis. E.g. the construction process of construction sites such as BBI Airport at Schönefeld, an archaeological dig or a vegetated open cast mining could be documented with the camera. The measuring device could collect data about the percentage of trace gases (e.g. ozone). Project´s homepage: http://www.isoluftschiff.de

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Zusatzinformationen / Extras


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Anna Haas
+49 30 314-28647
Raum FH 1026

Patrice Römhildt
+49 30 314-28652
Raum Raum FH 1026

Adress ZEWK/kubus

Cooperation and Consulting for Environmental Questions (kubus)
Sekr. FH 10-1
Fraunhoferstraße 33-36
10587 Berlin
Fax: +49 30/314-24276


Frank Becker
+49 30 314-26056
Raum FH 1029