Academies for Makers

The Helmholtz Association supports KIT in establishing Transfer Academies for young scientists – starting in 2023.
HAFIS Academy am KITHAFIS Academy am KIT

"The real secret of success is enthusiasm," knew legendary American entrepreneur Walter Chrysler. But how do you gear up the enthusiasm of young researchers? This is the kind of challenge we are addressing in our maKeIT project. Funded by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, we are currently establishing the Helmholtz Academy for Intrapreneurship (HAFIS).

The aim of Helmholtz Academy is to strengthen entrepreneurial thinking and action among researchers to intensify transfer activities in the Helmholtz Association. For this purpose, a project-based academy will be established in four Helmholtz centers during the funded period. In addition to KIT, Jülich Research Center, Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf and Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt are on board. In April 2023, the project will start with the cross-center conception. The first activities for researchers are already in planning for fall 2023.

"HAFIS opens up approaches to project-based learning for the Helmholtz Association that have already been used successfully in companies and university education for many years. Unlike the often-practiced approach of empowering researchers through extensive educational programs for transfer projects and focusing on subsequent independent implementation, the HAFIS approach focuses on project-based learning and practical implementation. That means learning along the lines of one's own project – intrinsically motivated", says Dr. Niels Feldmann, Head of maKeIT and HAFIS Project Manager.

The participants form teams in which they learn and test tools of intrapreneurship on the basis of their own projects. They are motivated by achieved project results and develop intrapreneurial spirit. This way, about 130 researchers will be empowered over the project period of three years. About 35 transfer projects will be initiated in parallel. At the end of the funding period, further Helmholtz centers will be successively invited to join the Academy.

Cross-center milestone events ensure mutual exchange and common identification. Local coaches accompany the participants in identifying and realizing their own transfer projects. They also take over the teaching of methodological skills during the project period when deemed necessary. External experts contribute their methodological and industry knowledge to the projects, thus ensuring a better understanding of the target groups and markets. The project schedule is continuously adapted. This results in a program adapting to the needs of the participants, in which empowerment and project results go hand-in-hand.

Image: Dr. Niels Feldmann