The SIU 2017 Spring Term educational programme aims to guide participants through many of the key practical skills required to take an idea from laboratory research and published work to a fully formed and translatable business idea. The talks will cover subjects such as; combining roles in academia and biotech; analysing, fine tuning and executing your plan for a biotech business; patenting your research to add value and defensibility to your business; and insights into how to attract the big science funders.


Goethe University | PEG 1.G192, Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 6 (7:00 Pm to 9:00 PM)

Melissa Vo is the head of the Scene Grammar Lab at the Goethe University. Before becoming a professor in Frankfurt, she earned her PhD in Psychology from LMU in her home town of Munich. After her PhD she went on to work at the University of Edinburgh and Harvard University. During her whole carrier she has been maintaining a keen interest in visual cognition and particularly scene perception.

After her time at Harvard University, Professor Vo received the coveted Emmy Noether Grant from the German Research Foundation. In 2014 she returned to Germany as a professor in Cognitive Psychology at Goethe University Frankfurt as the youngest professor in the department. In her first year in Frankfurt she was awarded the YAVIS award for outstanding teaching. Additionally, she is an active member of SciMento – a mentoring program targeted at talented female PhD students and postdocs from 5 universities in Hessen.

Session 1 (19/04/2017): Academia's bittersweet box of chocolates: (Tr)eat with caution!

Do you want to hear some insider tips on how to become a professor at a young age? Come and join our first SIU session in Frankfurt and get some advice from Prof Melissa Vo. 

Professor Vo will share with SIU members how she managed to become a successful scientist, what she sees as difficulties in that carrier choice and how to handle them, while maintaining the ever illusive life-work balance.

Guest Speaker: Professor Rolf van DICK

Goethe University | PEG 1.G192, Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 6 (7:00 Pm to 9:00 PM)

Professor van Dick started his psychology career at Philipps-University Marburg where he earned his PhD under the supervision of Ulrich Wagner. Following his time in Marburg, Professor van Dick became first a senior lecturer and eventually a full professor at Aston University in Birmingham, England.

In 2006, he returned to Germany as the chair for Social Psychology at the Goethe-University. Additionally, he has been a visiting professor at several universities across the world and as of 2016 he holds and additional professorship at the Work Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. Rolf van Dick is co-founder and Scientific Director of the Center for Leadership and Behavior in Organizations (CLBO) at Goethe University.

He is an internationally renowned expert for inter- and intragroup-processes, identity, diversity, and leadership.He has also worked on such topics as stress and job satisfaction. Professor van Dick, is not only a profound researcher, but also well-loved among the Frankfurt psychology students as a two-time winner of the YAVIS award for outstanding teaching. 

Session 2 (10/05/17): ‚We‘: The social identity approach to effective leadership

Want to learn how to be a leader and how to manage people while working in groups? These are the skills you should have as a researcher and we have the best tips for you from an expert in the field! Join us and learn from Prof. Rolf Van Dick.
During his talk in the SIU seminar series Prof Van Dick hopes to present insights about identity and leadership as well as his own experiences working with companies.



GUEst speaker: Dr. Christoph von der MalSburg

Goethe University | PEG 1.G192, Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 6 (7:00 Pm to 9:00 PM)

Dr. Christoph von der Malsburg is Senior Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) since 2007. He received his PhD in physics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and CERN in Geneva. Subsequently, he joined the section of Neurobiology of the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, before becoming Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, Physics and Psychology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Eventually, Professor von der Malsburg returned to Germany as a Professor of Systems Biophysics at the Ruhr University Bochum where he founded the Institut für Neuroinformatik together with Werner von Seelen. In 1997, he co-founded the company ZN Vision, which develops face recognition technology now under the name L 1 Identity Solutions AG in Bochum, and the company Eyematic, the core of which is now part of Google.

Among a number of prestigious awards (IEEE Pioneer Award 1994, Beckurts Foundation Award 1998, Hebb Award 2003), Professor von der Malsburg received the Körber European Science Prize in 2000 for his innovative contributions to the perception of shape in technology with insights from nature. He is a renowned pioneer in his field, studying the processes of self-organisation in the visual system and the creator of the Dynamic Link Architecture. He recently founded the company Platonite.

Session 3 (17/05/17): How I plan to revolutionise artificial intelligence by capitalising on decades of scientific research

You like doing research, but how about applications? Is it possible to do both at the same time? In this talk you can learn from an expert who achieved this already. Come and join us to learn from Prof. Christoph von der Malsburg.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Patrick Britz

Goethe University | PEG 1.G192, Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 6 (7:00 Pm to 9:00 PM)

Patrick is the CEO & President of Brain Vision LLC and the Marketing Director at Brain Products GmbH. He also holds a PhD degree in Biopsychology. During his PhD, he started working for Brain Vision as a scientific consultant and not long afterwards was promoted to President of Brain Vision thanks to his problem-solving skills and commitment to providing solutions to Neuroscientists. 







Session 4 (31/05/17): Take the next step: How to thrive outside of academia with your scientific background

Are you considering starting a company or working for an existing company with the skills you gained during your PhD?

If yes, come and join this exciting session to listen to Patrick Britz who turned the company Brain Vision into a leading distributor for neuroimaging equipment and a reliable partner for many research labs around the world.

In this talk he will share his own success path with us by giving valuable information on:

-        How to prepare yourself for a career outside of academia

-        What to pay attention to when you are applying for a job

-        How to use your scientific knowledge to create a company

-        What are the highs, lows and mistakes of creating a company in the research market

Guest Speaker: Dr. Henning BEck

Goethe University | PEG 1.G192, Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 6 (7:00 Pm to 9:00 PM)

Henning Beck started his doctorate at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research in Tübingen in 2008 and finished it at the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Ulm eventually receiving his PhD from the Graduate School of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience in Tübingen. Not long after finishing his doctorate, Dr. Beck also completed his international Diploma in Project Management at the University of California Berkeley.

Since 2011, he has been traveling Germany as a "Science Slammer" eventually going on to win the German Nationals for his lecture on “Speed up your mind”. Dr. Beck continues to give lectures, workshops, and performances in which he breaks down the complicated issues of neuroscience in an understandable and entertaining manner to audiences around Germany. Dr. Beck is a regular contributor to GEO-Magazine and Wirtschaftswoche where he comments on the newest trends in brain science.

Additionally, he has authored multiple books in which he explains complicated issues in an understandable and engaging way. In his latest book, published earlier this year, "Irren ist nützlich. Warum die Schwächen des Gehirns unsere Stärken sind", he discusses why we are so often distracted, find it difficult to concentrate, or easily forget things. More importantly, he tells us why these supposed deficiencies may not be such a problem at all. Dr. Beck has been able to artfully explain complicated science to a wider audience in his TEDxTalk, contributions to Wired-magazine or SWR-television.

Session 5 (07/06/17): Brain on, dude! Working at the interface of science, communication and media

Have you ever had difficulties when talking about your research with non-scientists? Maybe it is time to learn other vocabulary when talking about your research. Dr. Henning Beck will tell us how to do this in an exciting way. Do not miss this exciting session!



Session 6 (28/06/17): From Experimentation to Eco-Innovation: How to Start a Start-Up

In this session SIU members will learn how they can translate an innovative technology emerged from their academic research into a successful start-up company.

They will get a deep insight into the skills needed to start a business, how to set the business plan, how to find initial funding and how all this is possible while doing your PhD. 

Did you know that taking your prescribed medication, cleaning your kitchen or using anti-aging products is increasing your personal ecological footprint and thus, harming the Earth’s ecosystem?

Many of our everyday products contain peptides. These synthetic peptides are manufactured by pharmaceutical, chemical or cosmetic industry with the use of tens of thousand tons of environmentally harmful organic solvents per year.

To overcome this problem, Sascha developed the Clean Peptide Technology (CPT). This new technology not only enables the substitution of organic solvents with water but also allows cost reduction of up to 50 %, making it to an attractive innovation for the industry and the environment.

Guest Speaker: Dipl.-Ing. Sascha Knauer and Dr.-Ing. Christina Uth

Goethe University | PEG 1.G192, Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 6 (7:00 Pm to 9:00 PM)

Sascha and Christina are both Managing Directors of Sulfotools GmbH. They are experts in peptide synthesis, organic chemistry and water-based syntheses. During Sascha’s PhD-studies at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, he coincidentally discovered the underlying molecule, developed the CPT, recruited his colleague Christina and they founded Sulfotools GmbH in 2016 as a TU Darmstadt spin-off. Sulfotools has already been successful in a number of start-up competitions among them the Climate Launchpad, Science4Life Venture Cup, the StartGreen Award, Merck Accelerator Program and the Climate-KIC Accelerator Program.

Guest Speaker: Peter Skvarenina

Goethe University | PEG 1.G192, Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 6 (6:00 Pm to 10:00 PM)

Currently employed by JetBrains (IntelliJ IDEA/Kotlin makers), Peter Skvarenina specializes in advance programming, machine learning algorithms, and robotics. Peter has previously worked with internationally known companies such as Animatron (, Nokia, and SUN Microsystems (makers of Java).

Self-Driving Cars: Deep Learning, Computer Vision & Sensor Fusion (26/10/2017)

A Workshop by Peter Skvarenina

This workshop is an overview of the underlying cutting-edge concepts currently employed in the field of Self-driving Cars and an Artificial Intelligence and Robotics nanodegree program offered by Udacity. This workshop is structured to be actionable, giving tips and pointers on how to implement these concepts into an individual's own work. Everyone is welcome to attend, however this is an advance training course and one should have a basic understanding in programming.

guest speakers: Prof. Roberto Zicari, Prof. Gregory Wheeler, Prof. Danko Nikolic

Casino Conference Room 1.811, Casino Building, Campus Westend, Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1 (7:00 Pm to 10:00 PM)

Prof. Roberto Zicari, founder of the Frankfurt Big Data Lab (Goethe University Frankfurt) - will give a talk titled: "Big Data, Data Science and The Great A.I. Awakening — Civil and Societal implications". He will address the ethical and societal implications of using Big Data and AI technologies for high stakes decision making, such as medical diagnosis, loan approvals, hiring and crime prevention.


Prof. Gregory Wheeler, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy and Computer Science at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, will address the interdisciplinary nature of AI and how the basic research from different fields is giving rise to the advances in AI research. Additionally, he will address how this research can be utilized in service of more people and improve our life quality. 


Prof. Danko Nikolic, researcher at the MPI for Brain research and FIAS research fellow, will be giving examples from his own research and more specifically, how he is applying concepts from human cognitive development research to AI development. 

The Human Side of AI: The role of artificial intelligence in society (20/11/17)

In our SIU Translations event series, we discuss how scientific improvements can be translated into real-life solutions. At this event we will discuss how artificial Intelligence is transforming our society, what are the current and near future applications of AI and how humans can use these technologies more ethically and intelligently.