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16 May 2022 marked the third instalment of Rooftop Pitch Potsdam. Around a dozen startup teams joined the event at the WIS building to present their business ideas to a selection of investors. There was a lot at stake: the latter were ready to fund good ideas and teams to the tune of up to €300,000 and wield their rolodexes on their behalf.
Virtual Reality has been a buzzword for some time now. Vragments is one company that’s helping companies digitalize using innovative solutions such as VR. From their beginnings in immersive storytelling and projects like a virtual model of Berlin’s new BER airport, they’re now shifting towards advising clients on their Industry 4.0 transformation processes. CEO Professor Linda Rath tells us about their goals, the approach they’ve been taking, and why the Potsdam Science Park is the best place to be for what they’re doing.
Potsdam Science Park is one of the fastest-growing places for business in the state of Brandenburg. Its allure continues to strengthen as a startup and relocation destination. A dedicated Transfer & Founders Team is there to put people in touch with experts, and hosts a range of knowledge-sharing and workshop events. Team member Jana Dotzek talks to us about how their events like Rooftop Pitch Potsdam and the PSP Conference ensure that great ideas from scientists make it to the market.
Molecular diagnostics are dedicated to analysing genetic material. Just as DNA is highly complex in itself and must be isolated from other molecules, the methods and procedures in this field are highly complicated. Bremen-based company Molzym offers molecular diagnostics solutions for a wide range of pathogens that cause infectious diseases. At Potsdam Science Park, the company is conducting research to considerably speed up molecular diagnostics in the area of sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, to allow for improved targeted treatment.
One of the biggest business success stories at the Potsdam Science Park has been RIPAC-LABOR. After more than 18 years at the helm, successful founder and entrepreneur Dagmar Köhler-Repp has passed the mantle to Heiko Rüdiger, a veteran executive who has plans to give the company a stronger international presence, especially now that it’s part of Dopharma.
With over 25 years of experience supporting startups, 300 of them nurtured over the last 10 years alone, and ranked 3rd in Startup Radar 2021, Potsdam Transfer’s Start-up Service is one of Germany’s most successful. In this interview we hear from its head of, Johannes Zier, on how he and the team got to this position, the advice he gives to scientists looking to found start-ups, and why the Potsdam Science Park is so important for the start-up scene in Germany and beyond.
We talk to Hubert Wiggering, who is not just in demand among the scientific community as an environmental expert but also recognized as an advisor by Germany’s politicians. An environmental scientist at the University of Potsdam, Professor Wiggering was formerly Secretary-General of the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) as well as Director of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF).
Artificial intelligence is one of the big trending topics of our time. But what exactly can it do? Biotx.ai, a company based in the Potsdam Science Park, manages to recognize complex patterns in genomic data with its AI platform, enabling it to make precise predictions about the efficacy of new therapies. Their approach could radically shorten the time needed for such studies, revolutionizing an entire industry. Biotx.ai COO Christian Hebenstreit explains how this works in our interview.
In a way, BIOCYC is one of the hidden champions of the Potsdam Science Park. Producing peptides for both the pharmaceutical industry and research as well as antibodies for cancer diagnostics, their success allows them to build their own production building in the Potsdam Science Park. In our interview, BIOCYC CEO Alexander Gorczyza talks about antibodies for cancer diagnostics and why the Potsdam Science Park is the ideal location for the growing company.
Osteoporosis effects billions of people worldwide and creates economic costs of about 60 billion US Dollars annually. Until recently, the early diagnosis of the disorder with conventional means has been nearly impossible. The MedTech startup Porous GmbH, a spin-off of Charité Berlin, is planning to change that. In our interview, CEO Bart Hendriks tells us how.
For many decades, micro-plastics remained a scarcely researched issue. But awareness is growing, as is the realization that we, too, ingest plastic particles through food and water. Hardly anyone can estimate the consequences. PD Dr. Harald Seitz from Fraunhofer IZI-BB and Dr. Susanne Baldermann from the IGZ dare to take a closer look. They research methods with which micro- and nano-plastics can be detected in plants. In doing so, they are doing real pioneering work – and pursuing a great goal.
Coatings protect materials from negative environmental influences. They prevent metals from rusting and wood from swelling. However, over 90 percent of coatings today are still based on synthetic petroleum products. That has negative consequences for the environment. Therefore, Dr. Christina Gabriel-Liebs has long been researching the possibilities of producing coatings from a sustainable raw material: starch. A true pioneer in this field, her products are highly promising and could revolutionise the coatings sector; making it more sustainable in the process.
Starting in January 2022, new companies and research groups will move into the newly built H-LAB in the Potsdam Science Park. Among them will be QMEDIS Analytics, a contract lab where drugs are not only analysed but also produced. In our interview, Dr. Dennis Stracke explains how the lab works and how drug printers could revolutionise the industry.
Climate change is influencing global political, environmental and private decisions like no other issue. However, at universities, it often remains only a peripheral topic on specialised degree courses. Its wider implications are hardly investigated. The Climate, Earth, Water, Sustainability (CLEWS) degree at the University of Potsdam will change that. Starting in autumn 2021, students of this degree will be able to deepen their understanding of the climate system, water cycles and other natural processes on Earth. Andreas Kubatzki, coordinator of the study programme, is passionate about his topic. In our interview, he explains why Potsdam and the Berlin-Brandenburg region is an ideal setting for this course of study.
Scientists around the world are researching ways for a better treatment of cancer. One of them is offered by GILUPI, a company founded in 2006. With their product, medical personnel can extract cancer cells from the blood. Dr. Christian Jurinke has been the company’s CEO since 2018. In our interview, he explains why good diagnostics are crucial for cancer therapy and why they have moved into their new office at GO:IN 2 in the Potsdam Science Park.
For over 20 years, snow and permafrost algae have been the specialty of Dr. Thomas Leya of the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology’s branch of Bioanalytics & Bioprocesses (IZI-BB) in the Potsdam Science Park. They contain many enzymes, antioxidants and nutrients that are used for food supplements and cosmetics. But their potential is far greater. For his research, the native of Schleswig-Holstein undertook expeditions to, among other places, Spitzbergen, and had to avoid more than one polar bear.
The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP), located in Potsdam Science Park, is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious research institutions. In February 2021 Prof. Dr. Claudia Köhler joined its senior management. As director of the department of reproductive biology and epigenetics, she has established an entirely new field of research in molecular plant physiology at the MPI-MP. In the interview, she explains how changes in the genetic activity of plants can occur without modifying the DNA itself, why she considers current legislation to worthy of improvement, and what potential she sees in Potsdam Science Park.
At the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in the Potsdam Science Park, Dr. Oren Moscovitz (Group Leader Biomolecular Systems) is researching novel antibodies to develop valuable new tools that target specific glycan structures on our cell membranes and help fight cancer. To do this, he receives special help from – Alpacas.
Since 2019 Dr. Kenta Kiuchi has been a group leader in the Numerical and Relativistic Astrophysics department at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in the Potsdam Science Park. Using complex simulations, he helps other researchers to detect gravitational waves of colliding neutron stars – and thus listen to the universe with ‘new ears’.
Katja Hanack is Professor of Immunotechnology at the University of Potsdam and is among the most renowned scientists worldwide in the field of research into antibodies. Thanks to her intensive research, she is now able to offer a comprehensive and innovative technology portfolio with which to produce antibodies quickly and effectively. With the aid of one of these technologies, it proved possible to reduce the period required for the production of monoclonal antibodies from twelve months to a mere three. The processes developed by her team thereby help establish new test systems and medicaments, not only in the battle against the Corona virus.
Corona tests are an important component of the measures aimed at containing the spreading of SARS-CoV-2. The standard test procedures do have their disadvantages, however. In a joint project between Fraunhofer IZI-BB and Fraunhofer IAP, a team headed by Dr. Cornelia Hettrich is working on possibilities to make a test procedure possible without the need for a smear.
Respiratory masks could soon be experiencing a minor revolution: it is said that, in the foreseeable future, they will kill off viruses on their surfaces already and be washable at 40°C. It is on this precise aspect that Dr. Katja Uhlig and Dr. Sebastian Kersting of Fraunhofer IZI-BB and Dr. Erik Wischerhoff of Fraunhofer IAP are doing research in the Potsdam Science Park. But the combination of an antiviral surface and cleanability presents a complex challenge to the research work.
In the Potsdam Science Park, institutes and companies are working on treatments and solutions to further contain the spread of coronavirus or to accelerate the cure. Dr Ruben R. Rosencrantz heads the “Life Science and Bioprocesses” research area and the “Biofunctionalised Materials and (Glyco)Biotechnology” department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP. The research area is involved in four initiatives in the fight against COVID-19. The approaches and application opportunities are extremely promising.
In the DFG (German Research Council) research group entitled “Cosmic Sense”, Prof. Sascha Oswald is working on methods to determine soil moisture based on neutron density. This forms the basis for all agriculture and forestry and plays an important role in climate research. In this conversation, we talk about the desire to set new impulses in environmental protection.
For many years, Prof. Ulrike Lucke has been a sought-after expert in the field, is a member of the board and spokesperson for numerous committees, gives lectures and publishes scientific articles. Since the coronavirus pandemic, things have changed. Suddenly, a topic that she has been researching for more than 20 years, but which was previously treated as a marginal issue in politics and society, has come into the limelight: E-learning.
Physicist Prof. Safa Shoaee is one of the world’s most renowned researchers in the field of organic solar cells. After studying in London and Queensland, she received the Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize in 2016 when she began her work at the University of Potsdam and has since been conducting research in the Potsdam Science Park. With Dieter Neher, professor of soft matter physics, she was able to produce the world’s most efficient 1 cm2 organic solar cells here. In this conversation, we talk about green technologies and the way to make a career in physics as a woman.
Strong in research – the two Fraunhofer Institutes at the Potsdam Science Park: Learn what Fraunhofer IAP Institute Director Prof. Dr. Alexander Böker and Dr. Eva Ehrentreich-Förster, Director (acting) at the Fraunhofer IZI-BB, see this growing research location in Potsdam-Golm. Both emphasize the excellent collaboration and settlement opportunities at the Potsdam Science Park.
‘It was a very wise decision by the founding fathers and mothers of this university in the early 1990s to include this location in Potsdam-Golm – today Potsdam Science Park – in the university concept.’, says Prof. Dr. Oliver Günther Ph.D., president of the University of Potsdam. Mathematics and Computer Science, as well as the combination of Geosciences, Biosciences and Environmental Sciences, but also Health are some of the topics that are strong at the Potsdam Science Park in Potsdam-Golm.
Research and business in the field of biology face the immense challenge of analysing and evaluating huge amounts of data. The company Eagle Genomics has set out to make this complexity manageable with the help of network science and artificial intelligence. In 2021, the company will open its first German location in the Potsdam Science Park. A conversation with Dr Sven Sewitz, Head of Biodata Innovation at Eagle Genomics.
Research is the core of the Potsdam Science Park. Let us introduce two of our institutes: The Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPICI) is concerned with the hidden dimensions. The Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP) researches the metabolism and growth of plants.
It is exciting to witness the growth of an innovation location like the Potsdam Science Park every day. 12,500 employees work here, including 9,000 students and people from all over the world. What makes this location so special is the excellent research density. On site with us are two Fraunhofer Institutes, three Max Planck Institutes, the University of Potsdam with two of its faculties. The proximity of the research institutes to each other and to the incubator and innovation centres enables an excellent transfer of scientific results into the economy and the establishment of startups.
This video was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the State of Brandenburg. Video: transfermedia | Copyright drone video material: Benjamin Maltry
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Markus Antonietti is Director of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and the first German Chemist to have received the worldwide research prizes of the European Research Council (ERC) three times in his lifetime so far. The exceptional researcher received one of the highest European research prizes, the Synergy Grant, for a sustainable battery and, together with his team, prevailed against 440 international research groups. In the interview, he reveals why electric cars are not that important and what the true social vision behind his research is.
Prof. Andreas Borowski, Didactics of Physics at the University of Potsdam, pursues the goal of implementing new approaches to physics education so that teachers can feel comfortable with their methods and students or puplils enjoy learning much more. At the Potsdam Science Park he particularly appreciates the interest of people in finding interdisciplinary solutions together. And where does he get his best ideas? Watch his video now!
Tobias Wilke brings together people from different disciplines and with various backgrounds to stage musicals together. For his works, he has rediscovered the opera genre. We talked to him about the importance of music, his music projects and his teaching studies at the Institute for Music and Music Education at the University of Potsdam in the Potsdam Science Park. Watch his interview now!
Nicolas Hartmann and the vly team offer a milk derived from pea proteins. Thanks to a TV program, they became known throughout Germany. What few people know: In order to build up their start-up, they received valuable support from Potsdam Transfer at the University of Potsdam: their EXIST-Gründerstipendium. The story of a start-up with the ambition to make the world a better place.
Saloni Agarwal, being a microbiology student at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biology of the University of Potsdam, regards it as her duty to work on a better future. In this interview she talks to us about opportunities and ambition as a young scientist, how she stumbled upon just the right place to be and lets us know her favourite spot at the Potsdam Science Park. Take a look!
The Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPI-KG) is known for its outstanding interdisciplinary work. At the location in the Potsdam Science Park, some of the institute’s staff have succeeded in pursuing special careers, such as that of Charlett Wenig. We present the story of a designer who set out to become a materials researcher.
Always nice to meet her: Melanie Fiebig works as a cook at the Potsdam Science Park. Together with her colleaguse as well as with her good sense of humour and top-secret recipes, ensures every day that all scientists and staff on the Max Planck Campus have enough energy to lift research and other solutions for the future off the ground. Many thanks, Melanie Fiebig!
With institutes like the Fraunhofer and Max Planck Institutes on site as well as the University of Potsdam, the Potsdam Science Park is among future-oriented places with top-level research in the capital region. But what about the future of this growing hotspot for science and business itself? How could the area develop and what could it look like? We spoke to Sabrina Schwandt from dh | IMMOBILIEN, a real estate company that will soon build in the centre of the Potsdam Science Park.
At the University of Potsdam, innovation and new ideas are not foreign words. So, it is only logical that at the Golm Campus the first Brandenburg University School is currently being designed in the “Innovative Hochschule Potsdam” (in English: innovative university Potsdam) project. But what is a university school? Why is Potsdam-Golm the right place? What could this school bring to the Berlin-Brandenburg region? We spoke with Prof. Dr. Nadine Spörer, Professor of Psychological Primary School Pedagogy at the University of Potsdam, to better understand the plans and thoughts behind a future university school. As the head of the “Innovative University of Applied Sciences Potsdam” project, she explained to us details of the planning as well as the motives for this new school.
About half of the displays used in smartphones today use OLEDs. In Potsdam Science Park, Dr. Christine Boeffel is working on further improving the printing processes for these fascinating light-emitting diodes. She is dedicating her research to improving precisely this printing process for the production of OLEDs.
For our interview series “Game Changers” we met deep technology entrepreneur Mike Richardson, who develops spectrographic sensors with his company Photonic Insights (www.photonicinsights.com) in the GO:IN Startup Space at the Potsdam Science Park. Find out what drives Richardson and what advice he shares with other founders.
Since 2015, Prof. Dr. Alexander Böker has been Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP and at the same time the Chair of Polymer Materials and Polymer Technology. A short portrait of an institute director whose scientists are researching, among other things, materials for a more sustainable world.
His research has been published in over 550 articles and his work has been awarded more than 35 prizes. Without doubt, Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger is one of the most distinguished chemists in Germany. An interview with the man who has headed the “Biomolecular Systems” department at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces since 2009.
On the Golm Campus of the University of Potsdam in the Potsdam Science Park, research and development is carried out and innovative ideas are developed. Transferring the resulting knowledge and new technologies into the economy and society at large is the task of the team from Potsdam Transfer, the center for startups, innovation, knowledge and technology transfer at the University of Potsdam. Sascha Thormann is the Managing Director of the institution and reports in an interview about his experiences with Potsdam Transfer and impressive startup ideas.
Marion Krause is archivist at the Brandenburg Main State Archive (BLHA) in the Potsdam Science Park. What she likes most about her job is the connection between history and personal stories, past and present. With 54,000 running metres of historical files and documents at the BLHA – from biographies of important personalities over stories of companies to many historical treasures from the Brandenburg region – there is always something new to discover. Learn more in the interview!
Micha Wijesingha Ahchige, PhD student at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP), dedicates his plant research to a future in which all people have enough food. He is especially interested in the ability of crop plants such as tomatoes to deal with different environmental conditions. Learn what else he likes about being a scientist at the Potsdam Science Park in his interview.
Tina Stavemann from our Welcome Service advises international scientists and researchers on their arrival at the Potsdam Science Park and ensures that everyone has a good start. Her dynamic work also offers her the opportunity to follow how research results are published, how scientists receive awards and how startups are created that transfer new knowledge into the economy. Find out more in her interview!
Greenshift Labs has not yet a product on the market, but two very dedicated scientists who develop solutions towards a sustainable economy. We met with the founders Dr. Arren Bar-Even and Dr. Ryan Guterman and talked with them about oversaturated markets, new ways of producing commodities and how to become independent from agriculture.
Was the Big Bang really the beginning of our universe or is there more to find out? Dr. Jean-Luc Lehners, Leader of the ERC Research Group “Theoretical Cosmology” at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) and his team at the Potsdam Science Park are investigating these and other questions.
Carbon fibers are considered to be extremely strong and light, which is why they’ve become indispensable for lightweight construction. They‘re used in the aerospace industry, among others. Dr. Jens Erdmann at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm is researching how carbon fibers can be obtained from renewable raw materials.
The community of scientists and researchers at the Potsdam Science Park not only supports an innovative and fast-moving environment, but also lends itself to building sustainable relationships with fellow colleagues. Dr. Anne Zemella has been at the PSP for seven years. Currently, she is working on a post-doc at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Branch Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses IZI-BB, focussing on the production of proteins. To hear more about her experience and her fascinating research, watch her interview here.
Dr.-Ing. Murat Tutuş, Head of Department “Membranes and Functional Films” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, believes in sustainable future. He and his team of researchers are developing new membranes made of polymer compounds with special properties at the Potsdam Science Park. Find out more about Dr.-Ing. Murat Tutuş and his membranes research at the Potsdam Science Park in this interview.
The SARS-CoV2-pandemic has raised our awareness of the specific needs of groups that face greater risks from the virus. Autoimmune diseases affect 5-8 percent of the population. At Potsdam Science Park, Rodos Biotarget GmbH is getting closer to an innovative new treatment approach for pinpoint healing of infected cells.