Innovation results from interdisciplinary cooperation

© Carolin Jacklin Photography/ Helmholtz Zentrum München

The Pioneer Campus brings together the most advanced technologies in biomedicine and engineering to further accelerate the Center’s excellence in metabolism and other areas of outstanding expertise.

This interdisciplinary concept is based on the notion that fundamental discoveries are usually made at the junction of distinct research fields. Unconventional thinking and innovative ideas open new avenues, while cutting-edge technologies help overcome previous barriers. Pioneer teams bringing advanced technologies and fresh ideas find an exceptionally broad and internationally recognized research environment at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, open for collaborative discovery and innovation. Expected synergies will expand already existing collaborations with clinicians and valuable contacts to funding agencies, partners in the start-up sector, venture capitalists, and industry. Importantly, the Pioneer Campus aims to bridge basic discovery and translation as well as academic and corporate sectors, for the improvement of future medicine. Successes will therefore be measured by publications, patents and spin-offs, but also by the development of new concepts, which draw from the expertise of scientists, clinicians, patients, regulatory authorities and insurance companies for innovative processes and sustainable solutions.

Further, the Pioneer Campus has the potential to play an important role in the advanced integration and intelligent mining of large biomedical data sets that are routinely produced at the various institutions. There exploration, either across institutes and/or in private-public partnerships, present significant opportunities to improve personalized disease prevention. Deployment of new algorithms and analysis-tools would add to the scientific reputation and digital capabilities of the Pioneer Campus and Helmholtz Zentrum München on one hand, and provide commercial opportunities on the other.

Internationally recruited ‘Pioneers’ bring their valuable contacts to renowned laboratories, gained from previous positions around the globe, to Munich. In the spirit of the general Helmholtz internationalization strategy, these will be actively promoted and systematically expanded. We also plan to invite a proactive scientific advisory board (SAB), consisting of international experts from academia and industry.  The SAB ensures international standards and competitive scientific quality at the Pioneer Campus. We will also engage SAB-members in the organization and as featured speakers at a regular engineering, metabolism and biomedicine conference with global visibility. In addition, ‘Pioneer’ teams will have the means to invite international experts for short sabbaticals or research visits, respective their own travel to partner laboratories. "International fellows" are another important strategic element – scientists at the forefront of their respective fields will be invited to fixed-term collaborations or for regular consultancy/supervision. The aim here is to attract innovative scientists to regularly visit Munich who would be difficult to access via conventional routes. Contractual frameworks for such engagements will have to ensure tangible knowledge transfer into the Pioneer Campus and Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Flat hierarchies promote teamwork without boundaries

The Pioneer Campus is established as an independent project at Helmholtz Zentrum München. Consequently, it is closely affiliated with and reports directly to the board of directors of the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The three directors of the Pioneer Campus, Professor Matthias Tschöp, Professor Vasilis Ntziachristos and Dr. Thomas Schwarz-Romond also maintain close ties to all administrative departments of the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

The Pioneer Campus is further governed by an internally staffed steering committee, the direct interface to existing institutes and research groups of the Helmholtz Zentrum München. It advises the directors on general strategy and scientific synergies arising from the existing research programs. It further consults on personnel- and financial matters, and promotes the Pioneer Campus concept and its visibility both internally and externally. Lastly, regular and transparent exchange between the various governing structures and the Pioneer Campus administration enables smooth operations of this new endeavor as well as the evolution of best-practice administrative processes.

P.S. Please mark Dec 4th 2017 in your diary for our upcoming Team Leader recruitment symposium! More info on this to follow shortly.

Do you have any questions? Please do no hesitate to contact us!