Christoph Fahle
August 13, 2012

Startup of the Week: Science Craft

Brian Cusack and Rick Scavetta are co-founders of Science Craft, Berlin. Science Craft serves the needs of young researchers, research institutes, universities and graduate schools by equipping them with the tools they need to publish their research with impact and by providing high-quality, practical skills training to their students.

Brian Cusack comes from Ireland. He holds a B.Sc. from Imperial College, London, a Master’s degree from Leeds University and a Ph.D. from Trinity College, Dublin. Rick Scavetta, is originally from Toronto, Canada. He completed his B.Sc. at the University of Toronto, his M.Sc. at the University of Calgary, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cologne, Germany. Science Craft uses the co-working space of betahaus since February.

WHAT EXACTLY IS SCIENCE CRAFT AND HOW DID YOU START?

Science Craft was founded in February 2012 to provide training workshops in transferable skills to researchers in the life sciences. Basically, we want to help young researchers to tell the story of their science and understand their research.

Rick and I started to think about offering these services while we were still doing research at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics here in Berlin. We saw that talented PhD students were being held back because they lacked the essential skills in scientific writing, data analysis and visualisation that would complement their excellent research skills. We were surprised that training in these transferable skills was either inadequate or simply not available. So even top-ranking graduate schools had trouble meeting the needs of their students.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DEVELOP YOUR BUSINESS IN BERLIN, AND TO USE BETAHAUS AS YOUR BASE?

Betahaus offers an inspiring, sociable and supportive working environment. The transition to the business world from life in the lab has been less daunting because Betahaus is like a big ideas lab. So we feel right at home here!

SCIENCE CRAFT OFFERS WORKSHOPS SUCH AS SCIENTIFIC WRITING, PROPOSAL WRITING, DATA ANALYSIS AND DATA VISUALISATION. WHAT IS YOUR AIM, OUT OF THOSE WORKSHOPS AND WHO IS YOUR TARGET GROUP?

Research articles are the main way that scientists communicate with each other and build their career. It is especially important for young researchers to write impactful papers efficiently.

Science Craft's target group includes young researchers in the life sciences. Young researchers often fall into a "mentoring gap" because their supervisors do not have time to teach them essential transferable skills. Science Craft's aim is to fill this mentoring gap through our workshops. Our workshops empower young researchers by giving them the tools to build successful careers in the long-term, regardless of whether they want to stay in research or not.

Our aim is to help young scientists to survive in research by publishing successfully or, even if they leave research, to apply their transferable skills to new working environments.

WHAT ARE YOUR FURTHER PLANS FOR SCIENCE CRAFT?

So far the feedback we're getting from our students has been incredibly positive - so we seem to be on the right track. This feedback is really helpful because we are constantly working on our workshop material. We are very excited to premier two workshops in the Autumn/Winter: Proposal Writing and Data Visualisation. Data Visualisation will teach researchers how to tell the story of their science using the "grammar of graphics". We think this workshop might turn out to be quite unique, at least in Germany.

We also want to help young researchers to publish successfully by offering an editing service for their manuscripts. As native English speaking researchers, we were frequently asked to edit our colleagues' papers and that experience told us that there was quite a need for this kind of service!

MOST OF YOUR WORK IS CONNECTED WITH YOUNG RESEARCHERS AND STUDENTS. HOW YOU ARE DOING BUSINESS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE?

Simply put: We want to inspire and empower students! That means we encourage students to take ownership of their research and communicate it effectively. Writing and data analysis are tools that scientists must be comfortable with, but instead they act as hurdles to overcome. By taking command of these essential tools, young researchers become engaged with their work in a new way.

WHAT KIND OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG RESEARCHERS WHO WISH TO CREATE THEIR OWN CAREER?

PhD students need to be 100% focussed on their science if they want to graduate successfully and pursue a research career in the long term. However, by exclusively focusing on the goal of an academic career they are often blind to alternative career paths. This is a real problem since fewer than 25% of researchers will succeed in reaching that goal.

Regardless of whether young researchers find a career inside or outside research, we think they should play to their strengths and realise that those strengths are also transferable to other career paths. It is important for scientists to realise that there is also a life outside of research. Rick and I see our own career path as demonstrating that fact.

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Have any of these brilliant ideas made you curious about the challenge? Follow us on LinkedIn for updates on the competition!

To be honest, I sort of fell into it. I was always working somewhere between content marketing and the music industry and around seven years ago a friend of a friend was searching for someone to help him curating music for his boutique surf spot on the beach in Costa Rica. The owner was a big music fan, but he just didn't have time to keep all the music up-to-date. So I got introduced to him, we shared similar tastes, and agreed that I would do the music for his space - curating it and updating it with new music on a regular basis.

This for me was a dream come true. I could finally work with music all day, and at the same time, I could help create an awesome experience for the guests. I saw people's reactions when they heard a song they liked. I saw them dancing, getting a little closer to each other at the bar and that for me was really rewarding.

This was the moment when I realized that there is something special about this idea and I got interested if there is actually market out there. I did some market research, and a lot of interviews with different hoteliers people in the industry trying to get more feedback. And the idea started growing more and more. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



Interesting is the story of the last years winner in the category “Creative”. Hamburg based headraft literally took music experience to the next level by creating the world’s first AR Music Video for the German band “die Fantastischen Vier”. Designed for their song “Tunnel”, the cited app unfolds a virtual story world once the track starts playing, giving fans the opportunity to go on an interactive journey with the band rather than being a passive viewer. 

Applications are now open! Finalists will be awaited by a curious jury of five leading industry experts. Among others, Kathleen Cohen who was already taking part in the first year will be in the panel of judges again. With a 25-year multiplatform career history under her belt, she is one of the most regarded in the field. As a digital experience expert, she has successfully implemented projects for DreamWorks Interactive and IBM Innovation, to name a few.

Needless to say, the yearly AUREA Award is definitely the place to be. Apply and become a member of the community bringing together all the promising products and solutions in the AR/VR sector.

Photo by AUREA Award

OKAY BUT HOW IS BESPOKE SOUND DIFFERENT THAN PLAYING MY "DISCOVER WEEKLY’’ OR ANY OTHER AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED PLAYLIST ?

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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