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Report Research-Alumni Seminar "KIT in Innovation"

The Research-Alumni Seminar “KIT in Innovation”, organized by the International Scholars and Welcome Office, was ceremoniously launched with the Welcome Dinner on March 16th. This started off the two day event for the participants and their hosts lasting from March 17th – 18th, 2016. In total, 22 research alumni and guest researchers of diverse nationalities and different scientific backgrounds had the opportunity to learn more in depth about KIT’s emphasis on innovation during this event.

Day 1   
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs, officially opened the seminar. In his welcome address he revisited recent developments at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The seminar participants made eager use of the opportunity to engage with the Vice President in a round of questions.             
Professor Dr. Orestis Terzidis, the chair of EnTechnon, provided in his key note insights into the innovation and technology transfer at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, followed by a fruitful discussion with the audience.          
The overall objectives of the Research Alumni Initiative were outlined by Dr. Petra Roth, the Director of the International Scholars and Welcome Office, who also presented recent activities and achievements within the initiative. The participants were invited to commit to an ambassadorial role for KIT to inform about its research opportunities in their academic networks.       
Esther Legant, the Deputy Head of KIT – Alumni, in her presentation informed about the KIT Alumni Network and the new China Network. The Managing Director of the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion, Jochen Ehlgötz illustrated in his presentation the unique cultural, economic, industrial and living opportunities in and around Karlsruhe.

After a lunch in the cafeteria the research alumni and guest researchers learned about KIT’s offers for young start-up companies at the Center for Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship (CIE) to support them in setting up a successful enterprise. In addition, Indmatec, a prospering start-up company offered first-hand practical insights into its activities in the growing field of 3D printing.
The core element of the Research-Alumni Seminar was the workshop “Intellectual Property in a Nutshell”, held by European patent attorney Peter Bittner. In this session seminar participants worked on two case studies regarding patent law. Divided into two groups, the attendees discussed the pros and cons regarding these two case studies and prepared a court hearing in which they had to present their arguments for or against one of the sides.             
The day wound down with a Networking Dinner where the research alumni and guest researchers had the opportunity to meet and exchange views and experiences with scientists currently doing research at KIT and (re-)establish contacts in a laid-back atmosphere in the Badische Weinstube in the botanical garden.

Day 2   
The second day started with a presentation about KIT’s Innovation Management Office by Dr. Thomas Kröner. A guided tour of Campus North, the former Research Center took the attendees to  KArlsruhe TRItium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment, which is presently being assembled at Tritium Laboratory Karlsruhe. This new research facility will investigate the most important open issue in neutrino physics: What is the absolute mass scale of neutrinos? After a round of questions bioliq pilot plant was the next stop on the tour. bioliq is KIT’s answer in the search for high quality fuels or fuel components produced from sustainable biomass. The seminar participants were very interested in this innovative concept and used the opportunity to gain a deeper insight and engaged in a round of questions. Another highlight of the tour was the visit of KIT’s High Tech Incubator, which’s basic concept was presented by Dr. Hanns-Günther Mayer. The seminar participants learned about KIT’s spin-offs and their transfer into the private sector, a unique facility in a university. One of the KIT spin-offs, Nanoscribe, opened its premises to give a particular close insight on how the high tech incubator fosters the launch of new entrepreneurial activities. This enterprise sets new benchmarks for microfabrication in 3D printing technology and provided technical insights. After a round of questions the group went for a lunch break.

The afternoon was dedicated to the second part of the intellectual property workshop with Peter Bittner. The instructor wrapped up the lessons learned and provided the opportunity for the attendees to start a fruitful discussion.        
In the following slot the research alumni and guest researchers shared individual insights about their experiences as scientists at KIT and also their personal motivation to join the Research Alumni Initiative. In the final session the organizers closed the seminar, summarizing the two intensive days and collecting the participants' ideas and feedback on this event for further joint activities with research alumni.

On Saturday the International Scholars and Welcome Office organized an excursion to the spa town Baden-Baden. The seminar participants had the chance to tour the old town of Baden-Baden accompanied with a professional tour guide from the tourist office. Over the course of the next 2.5 hours we were given an overview of the many interesting places and facts in and surrounding Baden-Baden.


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