05/02/2016

Hagen-Joachim Saxowski’s filing cabinets may deceive: work here is more creative than one might think.

Hagen-Joachim Saxowski’s filing cabinets may deceive: work here is more creative than one might think.

Source: BAM, Photo: Michael Danner

Hagen-Joachim Saxowski is head of the section Research Services at BAM. His task is to draw up contracts for projects, manage third-party funds and patents both meticulously and creatively.

Mr. Saxowski, what is behind all these files?

That’s easy, contracts for collaborative research by our scientists for example. Right from the very start we support many projects by participating in all negotiations. We also provide administrative support to the projects while they are being executed.

As we can see, the papers in front of you are written in two languages, English and German. Does this occur frequently?

International work is the rule for my staff and me. The same applies to our researchers’ practice. I see myself as a service provider for the scientists and I often handle two contract languages. In addition to German, contracts are also concluded in English, therefore, I often have to negotiate in English.

That sounds like a very delicate undertaking, more so than one would assume.

My work is based entirely on live operations. Actually many scientists sit with me every week, introduce their projects or discuss the next steps for ongoing projects. My staff and I immediately see the results of our actions. This makes my work unique.

Is it true that a scientist receives assistance for performing a research project from a single source?

Exactly. Nobody has to go to different offices in our institute. A single section manages all the contracts, third party funds management and patent and license issues.

How big are the third-party funds you manage?

The total volume is about 16 million euros a year. BAM receives this much as additional research funds from public institutions or from industry and my section takes care of everything that goes with it: deadlines, correct management and compliance with contractual and funding conditions.

Rules, deadlines, paragraphs ...

Naturally! Sharing technology transfer outside is part of BAM’s official mission. Knowledge and technology transfer must be meticulously protected with each contractual partner, therefore, there are four lawyers in the section. When applying for patents, it is just as crucial.

Do you also protect BAM’s inventions?

Yes. BAM currently has 353 patents worldwide, including 163 German ones. It gets really exciting for us if a patent application is submitted for an invention and, simultaneously, third-party funding is to be sought based on the invention, that is when time is pressing.

Why?

There may be a dilemma: information about an invention must not be disclosed before the patent is pending. When applying for funds, however, I need to disclose information about the invention to show the grantor what is supposed to be achieved with the money. But this problem can be solved using some kind of emergency logon and application for postponement periods. So I must frequently readjust my work as it comes..