Mentorship program

IMPRS mentorship program


Motivated by our past workshop on innovation and entrepreneurship, co-organized by the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Heidelberg University, and under the umbrella of the EU Horizon 2020 program on "Skilled, Innovative and Entrepreneurial Scientists" (SKIES), we want to bring together alumni of IMPRS and MPIA and current IMPRS fellows.
The overall aim is to soundboard with Astronomy PhDs about a life in a non-academic environment.

As a mentor you have the chance to engage with someone who has had an entirely different background, which can be immensely rewarding for both of you; you may expand your network with highly skilled people: PhDs, postdocs and other mentors; you do good by sharing your knowledge and expertise and “lessons of life”; and you provide a different perspective about (your) business and business principles.

As a mentee, you will develop new skills outside the scientific area that could prove useful for the future; you may learn about entrepreneurial thinking and innovation; you may reflect with (industry) experts about your skills and their applicability in different sectors; you will learn what the non-academic world has to offer; you may embrace the opportunity to request for specific (networking) expertise; you expand your network across sectors; you will get career advice and learn about the benefits the (local) eco system can bring you.

The following alumni (in alphabetic order) from IMPRS/MPIA have agreed to offer advice to current/former IMPRS fellows when approached. So far we have hidden the email contact, instead we provide public links such as to LinkedIn. When you contact them via LinkedIn, better include a personal message in the invitation to link on LinkedIn.

We plan to invite our alumni mentors not only to the IMPRS seminar retreat, but also to talks and discussions in Heidelberg.

Note that the Max Planck Society has also set up a program supporting scientific talens who want to continue their career outside academia, please check their Industrial Track program.

    Philipp Hottinger     PhD 2023

PhD alumnus / LSW  ( thesis pdf )

Philipp  works Works in Frankfurt area as system engineer for optical metrology in a Mittelstand/Familienunternehmen, his expertise is ** optical design, fiber, photonics, instrumentation  ** Linux administration and network ** coaching in project and thesis writing: planing, management and tackling challenges  **  ( LinkedIn )

    Jutta Huebner           PhD 2009

PhD alumna / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Jutta works for a large space agency,  her expertise is  ** project management  **  mission operations, spacecraft maintenance  **  education and outreach  **   innovation and strategy  **  teamwork  **   (  Xing  )

    Thomas Jackson       PhD 2021

PhD alumnus / IMPRS /ARI  ( thesis pdf )

Tom is based in Munich, working in the AstroTech business, his expertise is  ** Satellite and Space Junk tracking systems ** Software development ** App development  ** Observatory and telescope consulting ** Astronomical Industry **  (   LinkedIn ; tmjackson @ )

    Sebastian Jester       PhD 2001

PhD alumnus / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Sebastian is based in the Bonn/Cologne area, his expertise is  ** Science Management  **  Public policy  **  EU Careers  **  (   LinkedIn  )

    Johannes King            PhD 2018

PhD alumnus / IMPRS / MPIK  ( thesis pdf )

Johannes is based in the Heidelberg area and is expert on  ** Entrepreneurship ** Data Science ** Product management **  ( LinkedIn  )

  Diana Kossakowski (Kossakowska)           PhD 2021

PhD alumna / IMPRS / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Diana works for a large dentistry firm in the area (though is hired through a startup IT consulting company). Her expertise involves ** image processing of xray detectors ** data analysis & data science ** mode of work: agile sprints ** ( astrodianakossakowski @

    Julian Merten            PhD 2010

PhD alumnus / IMPRS / ITA  ( thesis pdf )

Julian works for a big car manufacturer in the Stuttgart area. His competences are  **   Machine Learning  **  Data Engineering  **  Cloud und DevOps **  ( LinkedIn  )

    Qian Qian                     PhD 2017

PhD alumnus / IMPRS / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Qian is based in the Heidelberg area and works fior a large software company, his expertise is on  ** Financial software development  **  Business process  **  Customer engagement  **   (  LinkedIn  )

    Olivera Rakic             PhD 2012

PD alumna / MPIA

Olivera is based in the Utrecht area. Her expertise is on  ** Data science  **  Quantitative investment strategies  **  Institutional investors  **  NLP (natural language processing)  **   (  LinkedIn  )

    Natalie Raettig          PhD 2012

PhD alumna / IMPRS / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Natalie is based in the Heidelberg/Darmstadt area. Her expertise is  ** Space Sector  **  Service / Project Management  **  Quality Assurance / Testing  **   (  LinkedIn  )

    Jan Rybizki          PhD 2015

PhD alumna / IMPRS / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Jan is based in Weimar and works for a business-oriented research institute in construction science, his expertise is in ** data science  ** machine learning  ** scientific projects with SMEs  ** proposal writing  ** leading a team  ** Computer vision  ** sustainable practise  ** startups** (  LinkedIn Xing , Twitter  )

       Paula Sarkis            PhD 2020

PhD alumna / IMPRS / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Paula works as data scientist in the Karlsruhe area and offers the following expertise:   **  Technical skills: neural network for computer vision applications, databases, machine learning, bayesian statistics   **  Soft skills: project management  **    Advice for career planning as a data scientist:   Acquire a basic understanding of machine learning;  Practice writing clean and reproducible code    **  (  LinkedIn  )

   Andreas  Schreiber            PhD 2020

PhD alumnus / IMPRS / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Andreas works as a consultant with a leading company in the Stuttgart area. His expertise is   **  Management and strategy consultancy  **  Project management  **  Overview of employment and job opportunities for physicists in various industries  **  Support to decide career in university and/or industry and business  **  (  LinkedIn  )

    Johny Setiawan            PhD 2003

PD alumnus / MPIA

Johny is based in the Berlin area. He has worked on many different fields, his expertise is on ** Science beyond astronomy: economy, law, health **  Entrepreneurship **  Diplomatic service, management, marketing, Human resourses  **  Languages: translation **  (  LinkedIn  )

    Jochen Tackenberg      PhD 2013

PhD alumnus / IMPRS / MPIA   ( thesis.pdf )

Jochen works in the field of Energy Management Systems and is expert in ** Energy industry with focus on renewable energies and power trading  **  Software development  **  Agile practices, Product Ownership  **   (  LinkedIn  )

    Tessel van der Laan       PhD 2012

PhD alumna / IMPRS / MPIA  ( thesis pdf )

Tessel has been working in various research organisations in a managerial position, has lived and worked in Germany, USA and France, and is now based in The Netherlands. Her expertise is  **  Academia to business transition  **   Women in tech  **   LGBTI+ friendly  **   Resume & interview advice for non-academic jobs   **  How to network  **   Coaching on career shaping  **  Focus on European playing field (not knowledgeable on non-European fields) **  ( LinkedIn  )

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