Mind the Gap Awards 2023 - Honouring Diversity in Practice

Five plus one projects were honoured with the Mind the Gap Awards 2023, which recognise work that strives for diversity and equal opportunities. The new application period started on 8th March.

The winners of the Mind the Gap awards 2023. Image source: Lunghammer - TU Graz
The winners of the Mind the Gap awards 2023. Image source: Lunghammer - TU Graz
Every year, TU Graz gives prizes to university theses that make a special effort to promote diversity and equal opportunities. The prizes are endowed with 750 euros for individuals and a maximum of 1,500 euros for team submissions. The 2024 call for entries has just started - all’information can be found on the

And the 2023 prize-winners are:

The Faculty of Architecture was honoured for the first time in 2023 for three projects. The two Master’s theses show that - regardless of regional and cultural particularities - women need shelters to protect them from violence. The third project, a course in architecture, honours the achievements of a female architect who has so far gone unnoticed in the shadow of her famous husband. The special prize for a research project in chemistry shows that diversity in a research team can make a fundamental difference. The two research projects in mechanical engineering and computer science show that the focus on diversity raises new research questions.

"A space. For women. In Karachi." By Azra Alibabic, Institute of Housing

Azra Alibabic examines the Bilquis Edhi Women’s Shelter in Karachi (PAK) in her Master’s thesis. With 1750 residents, or rather inmates, it is the largest women’s psychiatric hospital in Asia and is not only a port of call for mentally ill women, but also for those who have been forced to leave their homes or have been cast out due to violence and abuse. The thesis deals with the visualisation of these invisible groups and the socio-political position of stigmatised groups. With architectural interventions and impulses, a stand is taken to improve the situation of the residents in such accommodation.

"A remodelling. Adaptation of an existing building - feminist criticism of existing architectural and social structures" by Theresa Schleinitz, Institute of Design and Building Typology

Theresa Schleinitz’s Master’s thesis makes use of the concept of remodelling as a metaphor for the restructuring of the social system that is necessary from a feminist point of view, and as a tool for architectural remodelling. Architecture creates basic physical conditions in which conservative, misogynistic norms manifest themselves. In future, it must push for the structurally and socially sustainable, resource-conserving creation of inclusive social spaces in order to contribute to gender justice. The work culminates in a design that examines the remodelling of an existing building into a women’s refuge.

"The measurement of space - Anne Griswold Tyng" by Franziska Hederer and Carlotta Bonura, Institute of Spatial Design

The course and exhibition by Franziska Hederer and Carlotta Bonura is about people, often women, who are overlooked. And yet they make a significant contribution to culture, society, architecture and the debate on space. Anne Griswold Tyng (1920-2011), Louis Kahn’s second wife, is one of them. In the elective subject Space, which took place in the summer semester of 2022, Franziska Hederer and Carlotta Bonura looked into her work and used it as the basis for designs that were made accessible to the public in an exhibition at the Graz Academy and framed by a symposium.

"Perspectives on Gender Mainstreaming in International Cooperation in STI: A Comparative Study" by Sarina Gursch, Stefan Kutschera and Wolfgang Slany, Institute of Software Technology

The publication by Sarina Gursch, Stefan Kutschera and Wolfgang Slany analyses gender mainstreaming in international cooperation in the field of science, technology and innovation (STI). Despite the importance of gender equality as the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there are challenges to global implementation. Different cultures and regions, even within Europe, have different perceptions of gender issues. There is a lack of clear direction for institutions to bring gender equality into international dialogues. The study uses qualitative and quantitative data from over 60 countries to shed light on this issue and emphasises the importance of institutional and cultural differences in gender equality.

"EqualityAmPlan" by Maria Hulla, Philipp Rouschal, Philipp Schwarzl and Christian Ramsauer

In the project by Maria Hulla and her team, a learning factory-based training programme was developed to teach skills for agile assembly (planning) with the support of digital technologies to increase equal opportunities and occupational integration. Volatility and a shortage of skilled workers are driving SMEs with manual assembly to become more agile and digitalised. The aim of the project is to identify working-time models, flexibilising personnel planning tools and digital assistance systems and to prepare and offer these in training courses based on learning factories. The aim is to strengthen SMEs and employees and at the same time promote the integration of part-time workers and thus mothers, fathers and older people.

Recognition Prize for Team Diversity for Expedito Olimi, Samuel Bickel, Robert Mather, Prisca Mmadu and Gabriele Berg

The research project "Bio-diversity at all levels" by Expedito Olimi and the research team investigates soil and plant health. The project was characterised above all by the diversity practised in the project team. Not only do the individual team members come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, but also from different specialist areas - entomology and vermeology, bioinformatics and environmental physics - and are at different career stages - from Master’s student to professor. The research group was also challenged by the cooperation with different target groups - from Styrian apple growers to companies that produce organic products. Nevertheless, they managed to find a common language and work in a participatory manner.