•  Dr. Tina Klüwer, Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurship Centre (K.I.E.Z.), Brain City Berlin

    Dr. Tina Klüwer, Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurship Centre (K.I.E.Z.)

She is not only a Brain City Ambassador, but is also considered one of the leading experts and technical ambassadors for the topic of Artificial Intelligence: Dr. Tina Klüwer heads K.I.E.Z. as its Director. The “Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurship Centre” is an initiative of Science & Startups – the network of the start-up centres of FU Berlin, HU Berlin, TU Berlin and the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Dr Tina Klüwer’s topic is currently on everyone’s lips: Artificial Intelligence. The transfer of research from the university to business is particularly close to her heart.  “In Germany in particular, we face the problem that although we have excellent AI research, we do not make sufficient use of it for our business and society,” says the Brain City Ambassador. She immediately backs up this statement with the results of a study she accompanied for the AI Federal Association: “We found that there is a very close connection between AI start-ups and science. 41.5 percent of all AI start-ups in Germany are spin-offs from research institutions. Conversely, this means that we must further expand our university-related offers for AI researchers and make start-ups even more attractive as a possible career path for young scientists.”

The promotion of science-based AI start-ups is also the focus of Tina Klüwer’s activities as Director of the Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurship Centre (K.I.E.Z.), which was launched at the end of 2021 as a model program by the start-up centres of the universities represented in the Berlin University Alliance: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: “We accompany scientists from the validation of their research results in terms of business ideas, through incubation to the early growth phase after the start-up.”

The breadth of the research spectrum in Berlin is impressive. Without the many strong universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutions, we would not have such a vibrant AI start-up scene in the city.

For more than 15 years, the computer linguist with a doctorate has been working on the topic of AI. After studying in Cologne, she first worked at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Saarbrücken and Berlin and as a lecturer at the Institute for Communication Sciences at the University of Bonn and as a project manager at the Institute for Computer Science at the Freie Universität Berlin. “Originally, my motivation was to understand human thinking better. That is why I studied philosophy and linguistics, and I was mainly concerned with the process of cognition. I learned about computational linguistics in a seminar and was immediately hooked,” says Tina Klüwer. So enthusiastically, in fact, that she also did a doctorate in computational linguistics at Saarland University. Her theme was ahead of its time: Modelling social signals in chatbots.

2022 Tina Klüwer was appointed to the Chancellor’s Council for the Future – just one of her many voluntary activities. Her current professional focus, however, is on K.I.E.Z.: “AI is a cross-sectional technology. The problems that our start-ups want to solve with their products are  correspondingly diverse. They range from more sustainable production of clothing to dental diagnostics to improved energy flow management in housing,” she explains. However, the biggest challenge for the young companies supported by K.I.E.Z. is financing. “We see ourselves as an active player in the Berlin ecosystem and have built networks with AI-experienced investors. We are currently working on intensifying contacts in Berlin’s business community and breaking down existing barriers to possible cooperation with young start-ups.” K.I.E.Z. currently supports 20 to 25 AI start-up teams. “The best make it into our accelerator, where we admit six AI companies twice a year for six months each. In addition to the DFKI, the strategic partners of K.I.E.Z. include the Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data (BIFOLD).

Tina Klüwer moved to Berlin for professional reasons: In 2009 she accepted a position as a research assistant at the DFKI language technology laboratory – and stayed. “I like the internationality of the city and also the AI scene. Berlin is the German start-up capital. We have a vibrant AI scene and I observe that more and more companies are moving their AI departments here or setting them up here. But Berlin is also a city of science. There are four major universities in the city, more than 70 non-university research institutions and a total of almost 200,000 students. The breadth of the research spectrum in Berlin is impressive. Without the many strong universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutions, we would not have such a vibrant AI start-up scene in the city.”

Tina Klüwer recommends that young researchers from her field who would like to start their career in Berlin science seek contact with the Berlin AI ecosystem early on. “Berlin is not only known for open source developments, but also for its open AI scene.” For example, K.I.E.Z. regularly organises an AI Monday for AI experts together with Berlin partners and the DFKI, which offers both content input and the opportunity for personal exchange. “I can only say to young scientists: take advantage of the great opportunities in Berlin,” emphasises the AI expert and concludes with a motivating appeal: “Take part in putting your research results into practice!” (vdo)

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