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Trans Pro Idea - Teaching Award 2014 of Freie Universität Berlin

The teaching project "Trans Pro Idea" that aims to put master’s and doctoral students in the natural sciences in a position to independently develop and implement research ideas in cooperation with non-academic partner institutions of the university, was awarded with the Teaching Award 2014 of Freie Universität Berlin.

The award ceremony took place on January 27, 2015, in the Harnack House of the Max-Planck-Society, as part of the event "Universities and Non-university Research Institutions Using the Example of the Research Campus in Berlin-Dahlem."

The course "Trans Pro Idea" ("Translation of Project Ideas in Research and Start-up Projects") was designed by Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag (Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Freie Universität Berlin) and Leonhard Urner. The course includes a lecture series, a seminar, and a research-oriented internship. The prize money of 10,000 euros is to be used for practical testing of the three best project ideas. In addition, as part of the course, the students will be able to become familiar with how to found a company.

"In the so-called STEM subjects, i.e., science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the courses are often very technical and narrow in subject matter, we want to introduce students to interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research and encourage them to develop their own ideas for research projects, as well as for spin-offs." (Rainer Haag)

This two-semester practice-oriented class will teach science students how to develop and implement ideas for interdisciplinary projects. The course consists of a series of lectures, a class, and a research-oriented practical course intended to acquaint science students in master’s and doctoral degree programs with practical experience.

In the lecture series, leading individuals from the university’s regional partners will elucidate the development of application-oriented issues and highlight various career paths in interdisciplinary research networks, while start-up founders from the natural sciences will share their experiences and explain the do’s-and-don’ts of a successful start-up launch.

The course is intended to introduce students in master’s and doctoral programs to various career paths in research, while also communicating fund-raising skills. Additionally it will give its participants an overview of the whole spectrum of regional partnerships.

Rainer Haag was inspired to create this course by the strategic “Entrepreneurial Network University” (ENU) concept, which fosters entrepreneurship throughout Freie Universität Berlin and Charité-Universitätsmedizin.

Researchers from other research institutions as well as founders of start-ups have agreed to give talks within the lecture series. One of the lecturers is Prof. Dr. Ulrich Panne, the president of the German Federal Institute for Materials Testing (BAM), who will speak on "The Analytical Capabilities of BAM and the Graduate School SALSA." Another talk will be given by Prof. Dr. Peter Seeberger, a professor at Freie Universität Berlin and the director of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam. Seeberger will speak about “translation” – that is, the translation of research projects to start-ups – at the Max Planck Society.

In contrast to the personal teaching awards that various departments at Freie Universität Berlin present to individuals, the Teaching Award of Freie Universität commends innovative teaching concepts and formats. The Teaching Award and the concept of "research-oriented teaching" are central components of the development strategy of Freie Universität, “Veritas – Justitia – Libertas. International Network University,” which was Freie Universität Berlin's winning submission in the German government's Excellence Initiative in 2012.

Press release Dec 19, 2014

President of Freie Universität Berlin Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt, Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag, B.Sc. Leonhard Urner.

Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag, "Trans Pro Idee" - Regional Network and Translation of Project Ideas.

Focus Area NanoScale as nucleus for a network of regional research institutes.

Pictures: Bernd Wannenmacher