CEPLAS Career Speed Dating

To give early career scientist the opportunity to learn about careers outside academia and to develop their own scientific network, CEPLAS has established the "Speed Dating with Industry" event in spring 2016. During one day, early career researchers and external participants from different professional fields exchange information on science and career planning in individual short meetings in a Speed Dating-mode. 



Career Speed Dating 2024

On May 15, ten CEPLAS early career researchers (ECRs) participated in the Career Speed Dating to learn more about career opportunities outside academia, establish contacts beyond the academic field and get personal feedback. During the event, the ECRs met with seven representatives from various non-academic professional areas in a relaxed atmosphere at InnoDom Cologne.

After the external guests briefly introduced their personal career path and current companies, they individually talked to all participating CEPLAS ECRs in a one-to-one speed dating format. The ECRs used this special opportunity to gather individual feedback on their CVs and to discuss topics which were relevant to them, like specific job requirements etc.

The breaks between the speed dating rounds and a get-together in a nearby Bistro after the event provided further possibilities for networking and to continue discussions.

Participating speakers:

  • Dr. Amine Abbadi, Molecular Breeding and Project Management, NPZ Innovation GmbH
  • Niklas Fröjdholm, Strategy Intern, CinSoil GmbH
  • Dr. Meike Hüdig, Project Manager Contract Manufacturing, Miltenyi Biotec
  • Dr. Wolfgang Koch, Group Lead Plant Physiology, KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA
  • Dr. Britta Nisius, Data Scientist Cheminformatics, BAYER AG /LifeHub Monheim
  • Dr. Artem Pankin, Bioinformatics Researcher, RIJK ZWAAN
  • Dr. Marcel van Verk, Vice-President Crop Data Science, Keygene

Career Speed Dating 2022

Eleven CEPLAS early career researchers learned about various professional fields at the Career Speed Dating event in Düsseldorf.

Already for the fourth time the Career Speed Dating took place, which offered young scientists the opportunity to gain insights into scientific professions and different career paths. Nine representatives from different professional fields came to the event, who first presented their previous career paths in short rounds of introductions. CEPLAS members then had the opportunity for 10-minute bilateral meetings in a speed dating format. During generously scheduled breaks, there was enough space for an exchange between the participants, which could also be continued at the end of the day in the Botanical Garden.

Career Speed Dating 2018

The third CEPLAS Career Speed Dating event took place on June 26th, 2018, in the beautiful Schloss Mickeln in Düsseldorf. Eleven professionals from different companies and institutions were invited to talk about their careers to CEPLAS early career researchers. In the morning, the invited speakers introduced their work and presented the steps, their personal motivation and decisions that have led to their current positions. We learned that few careers follow a straight path and that motivation, focus and determination are key factors for achieving one’s goals.

During the second part of the event, the professionals discussed the individual ideas and plans for future careers of each CEPLAS early career researcher in short one-to-one meetings. The meetings were limited to exactly ten minutes each resulting in very dense and lively conversations. In addition, most invited guests provided valuable advice on the CVs of the CEPLAS early career researches, which they had received prior to the event. The head of the CEPLAS Technology Transfer & Cooperation Management, Dr. Günter Strittmatter, was among the professionals and provided helpful feedback.

During the lunch break and dinner at a nearby restaurant, the participants enjoyed the networking and further discussions on career options. As during past events, the CEPLAS early career researchers highly appreciated the individual input during this informal event.

Participating speakers:

    • Dr. Benjamin Buer, Bioinformatics Scientist, Bayer Crop Science AG
    • Dr. Günter Strittmatter, Head of Technology Transfer & Cooperation Management at CEPLAS, INNOVATION BY RESEARCH R&D Consulting
    • Dr. Mauricio Dimitrov, Postdoc, KeyGene N.V.
    • Dr. Jon Falk, Managing Director, Saaten-Union BIOTECH GmbH
    • Nele Hermann Valente, Director of the Berlin Office, Genius GmbH
    • Dr. Grégoire Hummel, CEO, Phenospex B.V.
    • Dr. Paul Maris, Breeding Director Cut Flowers, Dümmen Orange
    • Dr. Klaus Minol, Scientific Director, Genius GmbH
    • Dr. Niels Müller, Research Associate, Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics
    • Dr. Jürgen Walkenhorst, Head of Life Sciences, PROVendis GmbH
    • Dr. Markus Westhoff, Head of IP Operations, KWS SAAT SE

    Career Speed Dating 2017

    At the second CEPLAS Career Speed Dating on April 7th, 13 representatives from various different professional fields met with the same number of CEPLAS early career researchers at the “Haus der Universität” in Düsseldorf. The aim of the CEPLAS Career Speed Dating is to give early career scientists the opportunity to learn about professional careers in- and outside academia, and to help them in making their own career plans.

    The meeting started with introductions of all invited speakers where they gave short, very personal insights into their career paths and on the decisions, hurdles and curiosities they encountered during their career. After the presentations, representatives and researchers came together for individual short face-to-face meetings, where they were completely free to discuss whatever was relevant to them. In addition, the representatives gave individual feedback on the Curricula Vitae of all early career researchers to help them improve their CVs for future applications.

    Apart from one-to-one meetings, the event was also a good chance for our early career researchers to extend their professional network as well as for the invited guests to meet and get to know potential future employees and present their organization as an attractive employer.

    Based on the final feedback, all participants enjoyed the meeting and the opportunity to discuss in a comfortable, informal environment.

    "It is very useful to spend time to share experiences with early or experienced professionals. There are similar challenges and questions along the road of our career. Plus meeting persons live helps to print out the message and create the connections."
    Dr. Lucie Cardon (Dümmen Orange)


    “Well organized, highly interactive, very open atmosphere: A great way to quickly get to know both early career scientists and peers.”
    (Dr. Remco van Poecke (Keygene N.V.)


    Participating speakers:

    • Dr. Katrin Beckmann, Manager of Pre-Breeding, Phytopathology und Molekular markers lab, NPZ Innovation GmbH
    • Dr. Lucie Cardon, Program Manager Breeding, Dümmen Orange
    • Dr. John Falk, Managing Director, Saaten Union Biotech GmbH
    • Dr. Suzan Gabriels, Scientist Postharvest Technology, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research
    • Dr. Frederike Horn, Spinach Breeder, Nunhems Netherlands BV
    • Dr. Marieke Louwers, Research Manager Systems Biology of Yield, VIB - UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology
    • Dr. Andreas Mahn, Bioökonomie/FB Ressourcenökonomie, Projektträger Jülich
    • Dr. Andreas Menze, Head of Bioinformatics, KWS SAAT SE
    • Dr. Aurelie Nowack, Business Development Manager, VIB Gent BE
    • Dr. Remco van Poecke, Researcher, Keygene N.V.
    • Dr. Gerald Schock, Associate Director, Global Product Management, QIAGEN GmbH
    • Dr. Thomas Stratmann, Advisor ERC, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (Horizon 2020), KoWi (European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisation)
    • Dr. David Wilcke, Head of Laboratory, Bayer CropScience



    Career Speed Dating 2016

    Getting to know career opportunities outside academia and expand our scientific network is not a trivial task. CEPLAS wants to support young scientists in this respect, and for that purpose organized a “Speed Dating” event with representatives from various organizations outside academia!
    External participants from a variety of different backgrounds, including scientists, project managers, group leaders, and patent attorneys were invited to spend an interactive day with the young scientists of CEPLAS at the beautiful “Haus der Universitat”, in Düsseldorf. The diverse panel shared with CEPLAS young researchers their insights into career opportunities and life paths outside academia. After our guest briefly introduced themselves and their organizations, participating CEPLAS scientists had the opportunity to talk individually with each guest. It was very rewarding to see that the discussions between young scientists and guests extended into lunch and coffee breaks. At the end of the day we all had dinner together and tried delicious German specialties!