Steffen Staab, Professor for Databases and Information Systems, Head of the Institute of Web Science and Technologies (WeST) and Vice Dean for Research and Transfer at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Koblenz-Landau, received the Academy Award 2018 of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate for exemplary achievements in teaching and research. In addition, Staab is highlighted by this award as a lecturer whose committed work decisively promotes the next generation of scientists. The prize, endowed with 25,000 euros, was awarded on 13 December 2018 in Mainz.
Staab has been a professor at the University of Koblenz-Landau since 2004 and has also held a chair at the University of Southampton since 2015. He conducts research in the fields of web science and semantic web as well as text and data mining. He is particularly interested in how data can play a role. He investigates how conceptual models and ontologies can form the basis for knowledge networks that enable computers to handle data sensibly. A word like "trolling" may initially be unknown, but its meaning comes from those who use it, for example, to communicate in social networks. Web science is therefore interested in how networks of people and knowledge are created on the Web, how people deal with them and what consequences this can have. This was impressively presented by the researcher in his keynote lecture entitled "Web Science: On the Co-Constitution of Technology and Society".
"Professor Staab is particularly distinguished by the fact that his research regularly achieves excellent impact and that he enjoys the highest international reputation in the most diverse research communities," emphasized the President of the University of Koblenz-Landau, Prof. Dr. May-Britt Kallenrode. In this way, Staab makes a strong contribution to the university's public image. State Secretary Prof. Dr. Salvatore Barbaro of the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry for Science, Further Education and Culture, representing Minister Prof. Dr. Konrad Wolf, congratulated: "With Professor Dr. Steffen Staab, a distinguished personality of the German scientific landscape who is known beyond the borders of our state will again be awarded the Academy Prize of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate. On the one hand, this science award emphasizes the great importance of teaching and, on the other hand, the close connection between excellent research and teaching". Reiner Anderl, President of the Academy, emphasized Staab's extraordinary commitment to teaching and the promotion of young scientists: "
Thanks to his very innovative teaching methods, he is predestined to be awarded the Academy Prize of the state. The international master's course in Web Science, introduced by Staab at the University of Koblenz-Landau, is extremely successful and attractive for students. Prof. Dr. Margret Wintermantel, chairwoman of the jury and former president of the German Rectors' Conference, emphasised in her laudation that Staab succeeded in arousing a strong interest in science and in particularly inspiring young people for research. Under Staab's leadership, several top-class summer schools with courses, keynotes, student programmes and excursions were organised for students and young scientists. As Vice Dean for Research and Transfer, Staab is intensively involved in the further development of cooperation with local companies on various digitilization tasks. The Academy Prize of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate has been donated since 2001 by the State of Rhineland-Palatinate in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences and Literature. The award winners are selected by a jury composed by the Academy and the Ministry of Education, Science, Training and Culture. In 2015, Prof. Dr. Gabriele E. Schaumann from the University of Koblenz-Landau and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans Hasse from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern were awarded the Academy Prize of the State of Baden-Württemberg.