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Welcome to the Innovation Day 2023

Knowledge and technology transfer as a third mission of universities is becoming increasingly important for solving societal challenges, but how can it be implemented?

At our Innovation Day, we will use practical examples to show how knowledge and technology transfer can be designed by different disciplines and by different scientific actors.

Networking and support are crucial: The Innovation Day strengthens the networking of science, the innovation ecosystem, and university service structures, offers interdisciplinary exchange formats, and makes transfer from research tangible.

Paving ways from research to impact


October 18th, 2023

9 a.m. Registration

9.30 a.m. Welcoming Speech
Marc Kley, Director Gateway ESC
Prof. Werner Reinartz Ph.D., Vice Rector Transfer to Society
Prof. Dr. Günter Schwarz, Professor & Founder

9.45 a.m. Key Note Speech
„Mindset for entrepreneurs“

10.30 a.m. Panel Discussion
„Transfer vs. Research? How to align both on a strategic and a practical level"

11.30 a.m. Networking Break

12.00 a.m. Campfire Sessions

1.30 p.m. Lunchbreak

2.30 p.m. Interactive Workshops or Speed NetWalking

4 p.m. Innovation Pitches

4.45 p.m. Awarding Gateway Ambassadors 2023

5.15 p.m. Wrap-up and Pitch Winners Announcement

5.25 p.m. Dinner

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Dr. Mona Mensmann

WiSo Faculty of the University of Cologne

Since the beginning of July 2021, Prof. Dr. Mona Mensmann holds the position of Associate Professor for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne. She thus supports the area "Corporate Development", in which her research focuses on entrepreneurial mindset, entrepreneurship training and entrepreneurship in low- and middle-income countries fit thematically.

It is also worth noting here her former hands-on work as a consultant for Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), an international non-profit research and policy organization focused on control group experiments for poverty reduction. In 2018–2021, she served first as Assistant Professor and later as Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Warwick Business School, UK.

Panel Talk: Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge

Director & General Manager at Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI)

Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge has been Professor of Economics, Energy and Sustainability and Director of the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI) since 2007. In addition to his management duties, Prof. Bettzüge is primarily concerned with fundamental institutional and economic issues of the energy industry and energy policy. Since 2020, Prof. Bettzüge has been a member of the Council of Experts on Climate Change in accordance with the Federal Climate Change Act (KSG). From 2011 to 2013, Prof. Bettzüge was a member of the Enquete Commission “Growth, Prosperity, Quality of Life” of the German Bundestag.

After studying mathematics and economics at the universities of Bonn, Cambridge and Berkeley, Prof. Bettzüge earned his doctorate in economics at the University of Bonn. After his doctorate, he worked both as a researcher at the universities of Bonn and Zürich and as a top management consultant. Before his appointment at the University of Cologne, Prof. Bettzüge was a partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Panel Talk: Prof. Dr. Stephanie Kath-Schorr

W2 Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cologne

Prof. Dr. Stephanie Kath-Schorr has been appointed W2 Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cologne in October 2020. Her research focuses on the field of nucleic acid chemistry and chemical biology with an emphasis on the synthesis and investigation of chemically modified ribonucleic acids for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

After completing her PhD in 2010 at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich with Prof. Thomas Carell, she went to the University of Dundee in Scotland on a DFG research fellowship. She then returned to Germany in 2013 and established her first own junior research group at the University of Bonn with the support of the "Fonds der Chemischen Industrie".

Panel Talk: Thomas Gazlig

Managing Director of Charité BIH Innovation (CBI), the joint technology transfer office of Charité and Berlin Institute of Health

Following the credo of "increasing impact", CBI established an innovation ecosystem including the validation programs SPARK-BIH and Digital Health Accelerator, scouting activities, and international networks. Since 2017, CBI has fostered 40 spin-offs and created a pipeline of approximately 200 commercialization projects. With a diverse background in biology, journalism, and business administration, he further serves for example as a board member of TransferAllianz, and chairs the board of trustees for the Life Science Foundation.

Panel Talk: Willi Geser

Director External Collaboration & University Relations at 3M

Willi Geser, Mechanical Engineer by training has held various management positions in research and development for more than 25 years. Technology inspired and open to new approaches in the product development process. He's a big supporter of the “3M 15% Culture”, where researchers can develop their own ideas without asking management for permission.

Moderator: Dr. Anne Schreiter

Executive Director of the German Scholars Organization (GSO)

After receiving her PhD in Organizational Sociology from the University of St. Gallen, she spent a year as postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley and worked for a nonprofit building leadership programs. Anne serves as member of multiple advisory boards, for instance of the Planck-Academy and the Network Science Management. As a trained coach she facilitates workshops for research institutions and has moderated numerous events and panels, among them the “Next Generation University” event series by RWTH Aachen or the Science City Presentation for Hamburg Hafencity.

Campfire Sessions

What are Campfire Sessions?

Campfire sessions are informal and interactive discussions or presentations that take place in a relaxed and comfortable setting, mimicking the atmosphere of a campfire gathering. These sessions aim to foster open dialogue, share insights, and encourage networking among participants.

1. From book to app? Empowering People with technical solutions for lasting impact

Join us for a transformative Campfire Session where we explore successful projects from the Faculty of Human Science as well as Faculty of Arts and Humanities bridging transfer of academic knowledge to society through technical solutions. Two speakers, Prof. Dr. Maike Schindler, Special Education in Mathematics, and Christine Schmitt, scientific coordinator at the department of Early Modern History, share insights to empower your projects for lasting impact. 

Don't miss out on this chance to make a real impact - join us in the Campfire Session: Let's create solutions that make a meaningful difference in people's lives!

2. Why is the topic of IP important and what should you know about it as an inventor/entrepreneur?

How do you know that your startup idea is any good? And if it is good, how can you prevent it from being stolen? What is “intellectual property,” and why is it an interesting topic?

This session is designed to give you an informed outlook/starting point to test and protect your ideas. Join us and start developing the right mindset to navigate the difficult area of product development , IP protection strategies, and get to know which consulting and support services on IP and entrepreneurship the University of Cologne offers to scientists and startups.

The session will focus on following topics: 
- Prototyping – how to develop and test your product (Dr. Piotr Jakubowicz / Gateway)
- Intellectual property (IP) - a complex topic in simple words (Pinar Öktem, Björn Schulz / UoC Dep. 75)
- IP - Transfer - how to use UoC IP to create your start-up (Pinar Öktem, Björn Schulz / UoC Dep. 75)
- UoC scientists:
     - "My grant, my project, my plannings and IP" (Dr. Uris Lianne Ros Quincoces / CECAD) &
     - "Founding with University IP - experiences and opportunities" (Prof. Dr. Günter Schwarz)

3. Write your impact story: Going beyond basic curiosity

Be it of interest for fundamental research or addressing current societal challenges, creative and innovative solutions are generated during your research work. To enable application of scientific results for creating societal impact, we fire your imagination in this interactive session. During this campfire session we illustrate with best practices how to design your research impact strategy.

We will showcase a couple of methods and tools that help you create your innovation strategy

  • Assess innovation potential
  • Understand the unique selling point of your research
  • Readiness level of your innovative research
  • Identify diverse application areas and use cases
  • Identify the right funding call for your innovation

4. Capstone Project - an innovative educational format: transferrable to other disciplines?

For years, Prof. Christoph Rosenkranz has been successfully conducting the course "Capstone Project" within the Bachelor's program in Information Systems at the WiSo Faculty. In this course, partnerships between companies and student teams are formed. Together, they shape agile product teams and implement software development projects. This innovative approach, bridging theory and practice, serves as an exemplary transfer model within our university. In our upcoming Campfire Session, we will discuss how this teaching format might be adapted to other disciplines and what insights other faculties at our university could derive from it.

Participants: Prof. Dr. Rosenkranz, Florian Wagner, Dr. Isabelle Schiffer & Dr. Nicolas Meier

5. Career beyond the classical career paths in Medicine and Law

The topics of start-up and entrepreneurship are becoming more and more important and open up new, promising career paths far away from classic career paths in traditional areas such as law and medicine.

Business start-ups offer the opportunity to realize your own idea or to make research results efficiently usable and thus to help shape the future of the legal and medical landscape.

In this workshop on the subject of starting a business with a legal or medical background, an overview of the various phases of the start-up process is given, from the idea to the actual founding of the company.

The individual steps are examined in more detail and basic knowledge on the topics of business model development, financing and support offers as well as other relevant aspects is conveyed. A special focus is on the special features of founding a company in the legal and medical field, which have an influence on all phases of the founding process. The workshop will be rounded off by reports from a legal and a medical start-up, who will report on their experiences during the start-up process.

The aim of the course is to make it easier for participants to access the topic of founding a company and to provide them with the basic know-how they need to start their own business.

No prior knowledge is required to participate in the workshop. Anyone who has a fundamental interest in the topic can take part - even without a concrete start-up idea.


Effectuation Workshop - Innovation based on your resources and capabilities

This format is especially designed for scientists who are interested in collecting ideas and broadening their own view on how their research results and expertise can be transferred into realistic transfer or start-up projects.

In this workshop we will apply principles of Saras Sarasvathy's Effectuation Theory. This approach can assist in implementing more successful projects by focusing on what is within one's control and leveraging one's resources and better identifying opportunities to successfully contribute them.

The workshop will encourage you to see your own expertise and innovative research ideas as valuable resources that can be used to develop unique and viable start-up or transfer projects.

This is a unique opportunity to learn about the innovative methods and concepts of Effectuation theory, expand your thinking, and realize the full potential of your research.

Research Impact Canvas: Aid to impactful proposals

Academics and researchers at all levels of their career are expected to solve problems, answer questions and communicate their findings to the scientific community and other stakeholders. Often, working within the framework of curiosity driven fundamental research feels like being part of a bubble, away from the 'reality' that is manifest in the very many needs and challenges that we as a society face.

Yet, we often observe there is often a great innovation underlying within these results.

To identify the innovation potential of your results, this short 90 min workshop offers an interactive research impact canvas.

The learning goals of this workshop are

1. Understand the critical elements of a grant writing

2. Deep dive into innovation potential of your research

3. Overview of funding landscape

4. Workshops & methods for impactful proposal

Speed NetWalking

This format is a moderated walk-and-talk session with innovation partners and scientists to enhance networking among the participants. 

After a short warm-up and check-in, you will frequently change your walk-and-talk partners and discuss impulse questions.

Innovation Market

The Innovation Day strengthens the networking of science, the innovation ecosystem, and university service structures. The Innovation Market is THE place to network:

University Service Structures

The Innovation Day is organized by the Gateway Excellence Start-up Center together with D7 Research Management Department 75, Transfer from University of Cologne.

Gateway Excellence Start-up Center

Wish to turn your ideas or research results in to solutions that address the problems we face as humanity? As your sparring partners, Transferscouts from Gateway will put your hypotheses through an acid test and help nurture your ideas into real-life solutions.

We wish to make your ideas work creating an impact case study for our University and the ecosystem. Enabling the most innovative ideas further to explore their full potential in the market or as a social initiative, we wish to engage actively with you.

Department 75

The University supports all its researchers, staff and students in developing their research results, inventions, and ideas to market maturity. Inventors and all those interested in founding a company get competent support regarding the handling of inventions, questions of technology transfer, preparation for setting up their own business as well as procurement of third party-funding.

Meet us Gateway and Department 75 at our booth!

Innovation Ecosystem

Successful innovation ecosystems foster an environment where ideas can be rapidly tested, refined, and brought to market. They encourage experimentation, support risk-taking, and enable the translation of knowledge into tangible solutions that address real-world challenges. The Innovation Ecosystem at Innovation Day is a regional cluster of partners who play a critical role in driving economic growth, technological advancement, and societal progress, through their support structures, industry networks and early sector-specific feedback.

Meet our partners from the Innovation Ecosystem that may help and support you on your way of transfer with different programs, funding possibilies and expert knowledge.

Participating partners will be e.g.:

Innovation Pitches

Get inspired and enjoy the wide range of our Gateway Start-ups. Watch innovative and impactful ideas in short pitches and vote for the most inspiring idea!

The winning pitch will be rewarded with an iPad Air.

Pitching Start-ups

Will be e.g.:

Organized by


Dr. Marita Mehlstäubl

Head of Transfer & Scouting

Thomas Lach, B.A.

Senior Manager Event und Marketing