Houska Prize 2020: Center for Secure Energy Informatics receives recognition award

The Center for Secure Energy Informatics (CSE) under the direction of Dominik Engel was honored at the Houska Prize 2020 award ceremony for its outstanding work.

Houska Preisverliehung Team CSE
Mariella Schurz, General Secretary of the B&C Private Foundation, Nicole Siebenhandl, Christian Neureiter, Dominik Engel, Günther Eibl and Judith Schwarzer from the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and Erich Hampel, Chairman of the B&C Private Foundation (from left to right) at the award ceremony, which took place under the strictest corona protection measures (e.g. negative corona test). Photo: B&C/Alexandra Thomson

Austria’s best research projects were awarded the renowned Houska Prize of the B&C Private Foundation on September 24, 2020. From a total of 60 submissions, top-class experts selected the winners in the categories “University Research” and “Research & Development in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises” in a two-stage process.

Top-level research at the Center for Secure Energy Informatics

The project “Secure data protection-oriented IT architectures for future energy systems” of the Center for Secure Energy Informatics received a recognition award in the category university research.

The central subject of the project is the security and data protection of power grids. The challenge here is to harmonize data protection and IT security with the functional requirements of digital energy systems. Until now, this has not been possible with conventional IT systems. The team under the leadership of FH-Prof. Priv.-Doz. DI Mag. Dr. Dominik Engel (Salzburg University of Applied Sciences) has developed a completely new, holistic and systemic view of all interactions between providers, consumers and society. The findings of the in-depth analyses in combination with applied cryptography (data encryption) resulted in a software toolbox for industrial partners, which enables a modern and secure use of smart energy systems.

“The recognition award is a great confirmation of our research work. We are very pleased!”

Dominik Engel


With a total prize money of € 500,000, the Houska Prize is Austria’s largest private award for application-oriented research.

Video about the research project
“Secure data protection-oriented IT architectures for future energy systems”
Center for Secure Energy Informatics
(in German)

Houska Prize 2020: Center for Secure Energy Informatics nominated

A research project of the Center for Secure Energy Informatics is nominated for the renowned Houska Prize. © Gregor Hofbauer

A total of 500,000 euros will be awarded by the B&C Private Foundation for top research from Austria. Among the nominees for Austria’s largest private research award is a research project of the Centre for Secure Energy Informatics (CSE) at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg, under the direction of Dominik Engel.

This year, the B&C Private Foundation is awarding the coveted research award for the 15th time. In a two-stage process, top-class, internationally recognised experts nominated five research projects each in the categories “University Research” and “Research & Development in SMEs” for the Houska Prize 2020, which is endowed with 500,000 euros. The winners will be presented at a festive gala in Vienna.

CSE nominated in the category “University Research

Security and data protection of power grids are the central focus of the project “Secure Privacy- Aware-IT-Architectures for Future Energy Systems”. The challenge here is to harmonize data protection and IT security with the functional requirements of digital energy systems. Until now, this has not been possible with conventional IT systems. The team of the Center for Secure Energy Informatics under the direction of FH Prof. Priv.- Doz. DI Mag. Dr. Dominik Engel at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences has developed a completely new, holistic and systemic view of all interactions between suppliers, consumers and society. The findings of the in-depth analyses in combination with applied cryptography (data encryption) resulted in a software toolbox for industrial partners that enables modern and secure use of smart energy systems. Dominik Engel about the nomination: “We are very pleased about this great confirmation of our research work. The nomination for the award alone, the ‘Oscar of applied research’, is a great honour.”

500,000 euros in prize money for application-oriented research

Submissions for the Houska Prize 2020 come from a wide range of scientific disciplines, such as materials science, medicine, IT and multimedia, as well as applied physics and chemistry. High-ranking advisory boards and a renowned jury selected the five nominated projects per category in a two-stage process. They will be chosen during a anniversary gala on 23 April 2020 in Vienna. [Note: The gala will be postponed due to the Corona virus]

The first-place winners will receive prize money of 150,000 euros each. In addition, a 2nd and 3rd place will be awarded for each category: The runners-up will each receive 60,000 euros, while the third-placed will be determined by the audience during the awards ceremony by means of live voting and will each receive 20,000 euros. The remaining nominees will receive prize money of 10,000 euros each.

About the Houska Prize

The research promotion prize was established in 2005 by the B&C Private Foundation and has since become a fixed point in the domestic research landscape. With this award, the B&C Private Foundation is committed to improving the financial basis for innovation and research in Austria and to sustainably strengthen Austria as a business location. The B&C Private Foundation has been awarding the Houska Prize since 2006. With an endowment of 500,000 euros, it is Austria’s largest prize for applied research. The foundation is committed to fairness of opportunity in education and to the development of the general economic competence of Austrians from childhood onwards.

About the B&C Private Foundation: www.bcprivatstiftung.at

Fabian Knirsch receives scientific award by Austrian Labour Chamber

Senior Researcher Fabian Knirsch was awarded the AK Science Prize for his dissertation.

For the 7th time the Austrian Labour Chamber (AK) Salzburg has announced a science prize. Submissions could be made on topics that are important for the interests of employees. The juries consisting of representatives of the universities in the federal state awarded the best work of 20 young women and men in 4 categories as well as a promotional prize. The awards were presented on 17 December at the Parkhotel Brunauer.

According to the motto “Justice must be”, the Chamber of Labour has been supporting young people and their scientific work in social, economic, professional and cultural subject areas since 2013. Important: The work must be thematically relevant to the interests of employees. “Motivated, curious but also critical scientists are of enormous importance for the development and future of a society. Therefore I would like to thank all students who submitted their work and enrich our society with their research topics”, says AK Deputy Director Cornelia Schmidjell.

The AK Science Prize is awarded in two categories

The category “live & work 4.0” honours works in the fields of technology & design, natural & engineering sciences. CSE researcher DI Dr. Fabian Knirsch received the prestigious award for his dissertation on “Privacy-enhancing Technologies in the Smart Grid User Domain” at the University of Salzburg, Department of Computer Science. A total of four works were selected in this category, the winners each receive 1,250 Euro.

In the category “living & working with equal opportunities”, a total of five works were selected. The prize winners will each receive 1,000 euros.

Andreas Unterweger receives Christian-Doppler-Prize

State Councillor Andrea Klambauer awarded the Christian-Doppler-Prize 2019 in the category “Application of the Doppler Principle, Technical Sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics” to Andreas Unterweger for his outstanding scientific work. Photo: FH Salzburg/Siebenhandl

FH-Prof. Dr. Andreas Unterweger was awarded the renowned state prize for his excellent scientific work in the energy sector.

On 13 December the award was presented in the Christian Doppler lecture hall of the University of Salzburg. Andreas Unterweger, research associate at the Center for Secure Energy Informatics and senior lecturer in Information Technology & Systems Management at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, received the award in the category “Application of the Doppler Principle, Technical Sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics”.

Andreas Unterweger’s award-winning research deals with the topic of energy data compression in intelligent power grids. By 2020, most households will have smart meters at their disposal. Data will then no longer be transmitted once a year, but every 15 minutes. However, the power grid is not designed for such enormous data volumes of around 1 terabyte per year – around 500 million book pages. Unterweger has developed a practical process that reduces this amount of data to a tenth and is hardly more complex than data transmission without compression.

At the award ceremony, Andrea Klambauer, State Councillor for Science, expressed her satisfaction with the high standard of the research work and the commitment of the scientists to the natural sciences. “This year great research work was submitted. The prize is a tribute to this outstanding achievement and an incentive to further intensify it,” said Klambauer.

About the Christian-Doppler-Prize

With the Christian-Doppler-Prize, the province of Salzburg honours outstanding scientific work, developments and inventions in the field of natural sciences. The prize is awarded every two years by the Salzburg State Government in cooperation with the Christian Doppler Fund.

Read the award-winning paper:

  • [PDF] [DOI] A. Unterweger and D. Engel, “Resumable Load Data Compression in Smart Grids,” IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, vol. 6, iss. 2, p. 919–929, 2015.
    [Bibtex]
    @Article{Unterweger15a,
    author = {Andreas Unterweger and Dominik Engel},
    title = {Resumable Load Data Compression in Smart Grids},
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid},
    year = {2015},
    volume = {6},
    number = {2},
    pages = {919--929},
    month = {March},
    doi = {10.1109/TSG.2014.2364686},
    pdf = {http://www.en-trust.at/papers/Unterweger15a.pdf},
    publisher = {{IEEE}},
    url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TSG.2014.2364686},
    }

Christoph Binder and Michael Fischinger at 4th ICSRS in Italy

Christoph Binder and Michael Fischinger from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics presented their research in Rome, Italy, at the 4th International Conference on System Reliability and Safety (ICSRS).

The present research paper introduces a Model-Centric Software Development (MCSD) solution for Smart Grid applications. The focus of the research lies on the automated generation of partial implementation artifacts of a consistent Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) realized in the SGAM-Toolbox. With this approach, finally, the process of Domain Specific Systems Engineering (DSSE) can be made even more reliable and applicable.

Read the full paper here:
M. Fischinger, N. Egger, C. Binder, and C. Neureiter, “Towards a Model-centric Approach for Developing Dependable Smart Grid Applications,” in 2019 4th International Conference on System Reliability and Safety (ICSRS), 2019, p. 1–9.

Blockchain Summer School opened up new possibilities for cooperations

Besides lectures and hackathons, Clemens Brunner (right) got to foster business relationships for future collaborations at the Vienna Blockchain Summer School. Photo: FH Salzburg/Brunner

Clemens Brunner from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics established valuable contacts at the first Vienna Blockchain Summer School.

Brunner got to talk to Akash Madhusudan from the COSIC Research Group about future cooperation opportunities. In a follow-up meeting, a closer participation in the project SNIPPET will be discussed, where the Center for Secure Energy Informatics is currently in the advisory committee. The project investigates mechanisms to exchange energy between neighbours and looks into solutions for safer local electricity markets.

The 1st International Summer School on Security & Privacy for Blockchains and Distributed Ledger Technologies was jointly organized by members of TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology), Princeton University, and SBA Research. In its first edition, it was bosted by TU Wien in Vienna, Austria from September 2, 2019 to September 5, 2019.

Great Success for Dieter Draxler in South Korea

Systems engineering for electric vehicles architectures is Dieter Draxler’s area of expertise. In South Korea he successfully presented his research. Photo: FH Salzburg/Draxler

Dieter Draxler received the Best Presentation Award at the IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo, Asia-Pacific.

Draxler presented his work at the ITEC-AP 2019 conference in Jeju, South Korea. Together with his colleagues from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics and Bosch GmbH, he researched the transfer of the Domain Specific Systems Engineering approach from the energy-domain to the automotive-domain.

At the conference, he got to network with conference organizer General Co-Chair Gae-myoung Lee from Jeju National University. He was invited to review papers for the best paper award and to visit the Smart Grid Security Lab at Jeju National University on his next trip to Jeju.

The conference proceedings will be listed at IEEE Explore

Outstanding presentation: Dieter Draxler received the Best Presentation Award at ITEC-AP 2019 in Jeju, South Korea. Photo: FH Salzburg/Draxler

Read the full paper:

D. Draxler, C. Neureiter, G. Lastro, T. Schwartzkopff, and M. Boumans, “A Domain Specific Systems Engineering Framework for modelling Electric Vehicle Architectures,” in 2019 IEEE Conference and Expo Transportation Electrification Asia-Pacific (ITEC Asia-Pacific), Jeju, Korea, 2019.