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At the seventh research idea competition “Forum Junge Spitzenforscher,” organized by Stiftung Industrieforschung and Humboldt-Innovation, the team of Dr. Ludwig Schlemm, a neurology specialist and research assistant at the Department of Neurology of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and a participant in the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program, took first place. The team is planning the development of an AI-based method for the early detection of strokes during sleep. The competition is geared toward outstanding young researchers in Berlin whose practice-oriented AI ideas emerge from their innovative basic research. The award comes with prize money of €10,000.

Acute strokes are one of the most common causes of permanent disability. Those affected are often unable to independently carry out daily activities, which in turn causes higher healthcare and social security costs. For a few years now, physicians have been able to successfully treat such strokes, even severe ones. However, it is crucial for patients to receive treatment as soon as possible after the symptoms begin. In about 20 percent of all strokes, the symptoms occur unnoticed while the patient is asleep, which makes it impossible for this group of patients to start effective acute therapy early. The scientists in Schlemm’s team therefore developed an innovative solution for the real-time detection of severe strokes, even when the person is asleep. The solution is based on non-invasive real-time, nighttime monitoring of motor function, AI-supported detection of stroke-typical changes in the recordings, and the resulting early alerting of the emergency services.

“Our system is not yet operational,” admits Schlemm. “Yet published data show that the movement profiles of stroke patients differ significantly from those of healthy people. We want to develop these findings further and use state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to solve the clinical problem of early stroke detection.” Thanks to his participation in the BIH Clinician Scientist Program, Schlemm has time to devote to the new project despite his medical duties in the stroke unit. The program enables him to dedicate 50 percent of his time to research. “This was really a stroke of luck for me and our project,” says Schlemm.

This year’s “Forum Junge Spitzenforscher” competition focused on the topic of artificial intelligence. How will artificial intelligence change the social and cultural world of the future? What role does the human factor play when machines create an ever-closer approximation to important functions of the human brain and human language? Featuring application-oriented strategies, concepts and solutions from the scientific community, this year’s forum provided an outlook on the manifold possibilities of artificial intelligence while also addressing new issues of responsibility: Who will protect us (and our data) from intelligent machines? The competition took place in an avatar-based interactive 3D environment and was organized in cooperation with Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and Charité -Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Six finalists were selected in advance to present their promising projects to an expert jury and interested members of the public. Each finalist team received prize money, ranging from €10,000 for first place, €8,000 for second and €6,000 for third to €2,000 for each of the remaining places. The prize money is to be used for the continuation of the teams’ research activities.

The following research projects were recognized:

First place: AI-supported stroke detection (Dr. Ludwig Schlemm, Charité)
Second place: KOMPASS (Kai Hoppmann-Baum & Jaap Pedersen, TU Berlin)
Third place: PrivML (Franziska Boenisch, FU Berlin)

Fourth place:
Volksbot: Gretchen (Heinrich Mellmann & Matthias Kubisch, HU Berlin)
Predictive Privacy: Innovative data protection for innovative AI (Dr. Rainer Mühlhoff, TU Berlin)
ZerOps – A self-healing AIOPs platform (Dr. Florian Schmidt, Alexander Acker & Sören Becker, TU Berlin)


Dr. Stefanie Seltmann
Head of Communication & Marketing
+49 (0) 30 450 543019