fortiss scientist Peter Kuhn

Scientists in focus

Peter transforms government bureaucracy into user-friendly services.

Can you provide some insights into your work at fortiss?

I'm a research associate in the Open Data and Information Management competence field, where I work on digital technologies that make public administration services more user-friendly. Red tape can often be annoying, nontransparent and outdated. That's why we analyze to what extent contact with public authorities is really necessary and how services can be provided with less or no contact at all. For such proactive and non-interactive solutions we develop corresponding concepts and IT architectures.

How did you become aware of fortiss?

Every year fortiss works with the Technical University Munich and others to publish the eGovernmentMONITOR study, one the most important publications in this field. And since I wanted to work in the field of public administration, I applied at fortiss.

What special success have you achieved over the past several months?

At the ZD.B Science Slam I presented the topic of "Online forms are good, no forms are better". I hope I was able to make a wide audience more aware of my area of research and the need for a transformation in public administration.

"My colleagues are young, international and nerds in the best sense of the word."

fortiss scientist Peter Kuhn

How did you get into programming?

I had my first exposure to programming in school, but afterwards it subsided. I became interested in programming again during the lectures for my master's in data science, which prompted me to pursue small projects on my own time. My job does not require that I be able to program however. It's only important that I understand programming languages and how they're used in order to be able to develop digital solution concepts.

What is the work environment like at fortiss?

My colleagues are young, international and nerds in the best sense of the word. I value the creative freedom and the interaction with people who are involved with the latest trends and developments.

„Working on solutions that improve the lives of people in one's own community is highly motivating.“

What motivates you in your job?

Working on solutions that improve the lives of people in one's own community is highly motivating. Our LEA project that we are working on for the city of Munich involves problems and challenges that every resident of the city faces on a daily basis for instance. We're designing corresponding solutions that are user-centric and which noticeably improve the quality of the service.

What is your vision?

The goal of my research is to create technical systems that enable city administrations to evolve from bureaucratic offices with organically-grown IT architectures, to service-oriented providers. Open data is an important key word here. Public administration has to open up access to other government offices while maintaining data privacy and jointly solve tasks in a transparent fashion. Federalism brings with it major challenges, but also opportunities. Decentralized collaboration between authorities at all levels of administration enables innovative solutions and is perfectly made for a federal structure. Best case is that public administration services will one day be more efficient and through the automation of standard tasks, will be in a position to concentrate on important individual cases.

Where would you like to see your research results applied?

If possible, in every city and community in Germany. But it's still great to see the results of my research being used in the city where I live. That means I benefit from my own work.

What advice can you give fortiss applicants?

Don't wait for the perfect job advertisement. In the research profession, topics change constantly, which makes an unsolicited application an ideal way to make sure the institute clearly understands your interests.