Young Investigator Coaching – University of Copenhagen

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Young Investigator Coaching (former Young Investigator Network)

Establish stronger relations between the business community and SCIENCE

Since 2012, SCIENCE has facilitated coaching sessions for young scientists in order to strengthen their professional relations with private and public companies. So far, 78 scientists across the faculty’s departments have participated in the programme.

The initiative was launched in an attempt to bridge the gap between the university and the industry following faculty discussions with Managing Director at Novo Nordisk, Lars Rebien Sørensen and Senior Department Manager Peter Horn Møller from Novozymes (later Albumedix). Today the coaches are Vice President in Chr. Hansen A/S, Anne Skriver (Food Cultures & Enzymes Global Application) and Founder of Marigold Innovation, Peter Horn Møller.

The concept in short

The aim of the programme is to help the participants take their research and career forward by creating valuable relations to external collaborators and to help them make more focused decisions.

To accomplish this, the programme offers intensive coaching sessions focusing on personal aspects of the participating researchers such as their personal skills and challenges concerning relation building, as well as their ambitions and considerations of everyday choices in their academic life and future career paths. Moreover, the sessions will provide the participants with valuable insights on research collaboration from a business perspective and a stronger network.

An alumni association of past participants has been set up to facilitate continued discussion between young researchers across the faculty and to contribute to cultural development with respect to external collaboration.

Honest feedback and a valuable network

34-year old assistant professor (tenure-track) Jiwoong Lee from the Department of Chemistry was part of the 2017 team: “It changed the course of my research and gave me a valuable network”. He stresses the confidentiality of the network and feels that he learned a lot from listening to the challenges of other fellow young researchers. Being placed outside of his normal comfort zone at the coaching sessions and the honest questions and advice from the industry coaches, was also a rewarding experience for Jiwoong. He was even encouraged by the positive feedback at his coaching session to give it another go with a research invention, for which he had not been able to patent or successfully raise external funds.

Today Jiwoong is in the process of getting his invention patented and starting his own company with the help of one of the industry coaches: I would have done nothing with the invention if I haven’t been part of Young Investigator Network and met Peter. I was ready to give it up because of the rejections.”  

Read more about former participants experiences or see what coach Peter Horn Møller and former coach Søren Bregenholt have to say about the programme in the videos below.

Peter Horn Møller, Marigold Innovation

Søren Bregenholt, Corporate Vice President, Novo Nordisk