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Kick off for the KTH Innovation mentor program

Portrait of Lauren McKee
KTH researcher Lauren McKee's research focuses on complex carbohydrates and the proteins that break them down or bind to them. This spring, she will work together with a mentor. Photo by Salla Koskela
Published Feb 17, 2021

The KTH Innovation mentor program is now up and running. At the kick off in February, seventeen teams founded by students and researchers at KTH met their mentors on Zoom, marking the beginning of a six-month collaboration.

- Our mentor network has grown a lot in the past year. It’s amazing that so many want to contribute with their time and expertise to innovators from KTH, says Magnus Oskarsson, Project Manager Business Relations & Network at KTH Innovation.

Networking and new perspectives

In the KTH Innovation mentor program, researchers from KTH who want to create impact with their research are matched with experienced mentors from the business community. Student teams in the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program can also apply to the program. The mentors will bring new perspectives on research impact and commercialization and create new networking opportunities.

One of the participants in the program is Lauren McKee, whose research focuses on complex carbohydrates and the proteins that break them down or bind to them.

- Many of the reaction products I make have potential to be high-value compounds in the cosmetic or pharmaceutical industry, but I don’t have any previous experience of bringing my research closer to the market, says Lauren McKee. I have seen several examples of small companies that have started in the academic lab, and that have gone on to be successful in their field. I’m interested in how that transition happens, and that’s one thing I hope my mentor will be able to help me with.

Individual matches

The accepted teams represent all of the different schools at KTH and a broad spectrum of areas, from digital tools for math education to additive manufacturing. KTH Innovation have matched the teams with a mentor with experience who fits their individual needs.

One of the mentors in the program is Nicolas Waern, who brings expertise in strategy and innovation in the real estate industry, smart cities and modern built environment. He is CEO and founder of the consultancy WINNIIO. Nicolas Waern has been paired with Gordian, a deeptech startup founded by KTH reseaechers. During the spring, Nicolas and the Gordian team will meet six times to discuss the company’s development.

- When I studied in Switzerland eight years ago, I noticed people there were much more prone to sharing their knowledge and experience than people are in Sweden. There is always someone who can solve your problem and has information that can help you, and my least favorite thing is when things happen behind closed doors. To succeed, it’s important to share both our ups and downs. That’s why I chose to become a mentor. I want to listen to Gordian’s challenges, open up my network and help them to the best of my ability. I also hope this will help me develop my leadership skills.

Interested in the program?

The next application period to the KTH Innovation mentor program opens in late April. If you’re interested in applying to the next round, get in touch with KTH Innovation now for a better chance of getting accepted to the program.

Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Feb 17, 2021