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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.

Still wondering about a membership at betahaus? Click here and read more about it!

In addition to the betahaus locations, we've formed a close relationship with some of the world's best coworking spaces. With your betahaus membership, you can work from any of our partner spaces for 1 day per month.

Coworking Spaces in Europe

Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark

Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France

Le Laptop - Coworking Paris

utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain

utopic_US - Coworking Madrid

Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Nest 71 - Coworking Bosnia & Herzegovina

  

Toolbox // Milan, Italy // Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 2, 10134 Torino, Italy

Edspace // London, England // Block D, Hackney Community College, Falkirk St, London, UK

Bios // Athens, Greece // Pireos 84, Athina 104 35, Greece

 

CoWorx // Kristiansand, Norway // Markens Gate 8, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway

CRU – Loja / Cowork // Porto, Portugal // Rua do Rosário 211, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal

SPARK // Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Bleiburških žrtava, Mostar 88000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

StartUp Armenia Foundation // Yerevan, Armenia // 0019, 1 Marshal Baghramyan Ave, Yerevan 0019, Armenia

Tøyen Startup Village // Oslo, Norway // Hagegata 23, 0653 Oslo, Norway

Tøyen Startup Village - Coworking Oslo

Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia

Smart Coworking - Coworking Prague

Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal

Lighthouse - Coworking Tel Aviv

Coworking Spaces in North America

Fueled // New York City, USA // 11, 568 Broadway, FL 11, New York, NY 10012, United States **Maximum 3 Days

  

Capital Factory // Austin, USA // 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Público // Mexico City, Mexico // Puebla 403, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Coworking Spaces in South America

Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Area Tres - Coworking Buenos Aires

 

HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

HubBOG - Coworking Bogota

Coworking Spaces in Asia

CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號

CIT - Coworking Taipe

 

Of10 // Mumbai, India // Prudential, Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076, India

 

Kibar // Jakarta, Indonesia // Jl. Prof. Moh. Yamin No.1, RT.7/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310, Indonesia

Midori.so // Tokyo, Japan // Midori.so Nakameguro: 3 Chome-3-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan // Midori.so Nagatacho: 2 Chome-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0093 // Midori.so2: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan

Midori.so - Coworking Tokyo

Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines

Coworking Spaces in Australia

Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia

Coworking Spaces in Africa

Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt

Urban Station EGYPT - Coworking Cairo

Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi Garage - Coworking Nairobi

 

BONUS: Cowork & Relax at the Coliving Space, Coconat // Brandenburg, Germany // Klein Glien 25 14806 Bad Belzig, Germany // Get €10 off your stay

 

Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them. 

Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.

Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for  betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear. 

Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.



Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK


Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to contact@obst.digital !

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