Former UT student Robin Bruck: grasping the risks and opportunities presented by new technologies

‘You can’t create a circular economy if you don’t understand technology’

Throughout his Bachelor’s programme in public administration, former UT student Robin Bruck deliberately chose projects and electives involving as much technology as possible. ‘I wanted to make myself more attractive on the job market that way,’ he explains. ‘In my view, it’s almost impossible to be effective in present-day public administration without a solid understanding of technology. Even if you are in an area that does not directly rely on the newest technologies, you will still find technology facilitating much of what you do. Just think of how the use of big data is spreading into almost every corner of society.’

It’s almost impossible to be effective in present-day public administration without a solid understanding of technology.Robin Bruck

Technology as a change agent

Robin has a strong interest in sustainability and in the concept of a circular economy – an area in which technology is everywhere, he says. In his Bachelor’s thesis, he laid the groundwork for what he calls a European Strategy for Industrial Symbiosis (ESIS). ‘Industrial symbiosis,’ he explains, ‘is a form of collaboration between two or more industrial organisations or companies who find a way of using each other’s waste or by-products as raw materials. It’s a circular economy-based concept that offers great opportunities for combining sustainable economic growth with environmental responsibility.’

Technology is a major change agent when it comes to economic and ecological sustainability, Robin points out. ‘There is a lot of technical innovation and development going on aimed at making industrial symbiosis – or the wider concept of a circular economy – more attainable in the years ahead. If you want to influence these developments from the point of view of public administration, you have to have knowledge of the technologies involved. You have to be able to grasp the risks and opportunities they hold out.’

Finding the perfect Master’s programme

That said, Robin is currently taking a gap year. Apart from travelling and gaining some work experience as an intern, his primary goal is to find the perfect Master’s programme: one in which he can pursue his vision of a circular economy. ‘It’s not easy,’ he notes. ‘Especially in Germany, there are very few public administration programmes in which society and technology are integrated – while on the other hand, there are many technology programmes unrelated to public administration. It seems like education is lagging behind, in my country anyway. In that sense, the UT’s new Bachelor’s programme is an absolute bull’s-eye.’

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