TFF Academy, July 26: Introducing the Specialization Tracks

This summer, we’re all about uncovering the hidden layers of your spectrum of perspectives. As we shared in our recent post, we’re kicking off our new TFF Academy in line with our theme: Multispectral Thinking!

We believe, that every one of us needs to constantly reflect, reinvent and revolutionize our space of knowledge, opinions, and beliefs. Only by deepening and broadening our horizon, going the extra mile to explore what’s beyond your comfort zone, will help to make a true impact and difference to our shared futures.

If you ask our Founder and CEO Christine Gould about her personal purpose and mission with TFF, she will tell you the following:

“We need to start transforming our economic and societal paradigms to value connectedness and interdependence, instead of individualism and short-term thinking. In doing this, I am sure that our world will benefit from a level of creativity, innovation and progress that staggers the imagination.”

Connectedness, creativity, innovation, and imagination is also what unites all of our wonderful speakers, teachers and partners, engaging in our TFF Academy and Summit in Rio de Janeiro this July. If you can equally relate to these values, keep reading to learn more about our the next three Specialization Tracks and their teachers.

Introducing: The 3 Specialization Tracks of Day 4

The next Specialization Tracks of the TFF Academy share a common thread: Using latest technologies as the means of introducing and supporting collaborative innovation approaches that serve a social purpose.

In order to shift the mindset of today’s industry towards what we understand as the next-generation innovation, it’s necessary to bring future-looking technologies, open knowledge sharing and learning as well as new, contemporary types of investment together.

How might emerging technologies like synthetic biology improve nutrition on a global scale and where are the limits to modifying biological systems?

How could future tech-based business models gain more value from a new IP culture, that fosters inclusivity, openness and benefit sharing?

And ultimately, how will startup investors come into play who’re equally willing to transform our economic and societal paradigms?

In the following three tracks, these and more (of your) questions will be addressed, discussed and turned into tangible takeaways.

Frontiers of Synthetic biology with John Cumbers

Get ready to enter the intriguing world of biology, biotechnology and synthetic biology! After an introduction to the fundamentals of biological systems and molecules, you will be discussing state of the art industry applications, such as the ability of biological systems to produce a huge variety of chemicals including fuels, biomaterials, food and drugs and what modern methods are used for the manipulation of biological systems.

This session is curated and led by John Cumbers, the founder, and CEO of SynBioBeta, a global innovation network and community of entrepreneurs, thought-leaders and investors. In the past, he has worked for NASA and has been involved in multiple startups such as those producing food for space, microbes to extract lunar resources and hoverboards (!). Bringing together solid expertise, awarded work and a ‘super-connector’ personality, John has devoted himself to helping those around him connect into the synthetic biology ecosystem and gain the resources that they need to break through scientific and commercial boundaries and see their innovations applied in the real world.

Open IP Models for Open Innovation with Michael Kock

Today’s innovation models have already become more collaborative and inclusive. However, it cannot remain restricted to the possibilities of technology as an enabler but requires to shift our focus to ‘how‘ we apply these on a broad scale.

Still, the usage of exclusive Intellectual Property models, primarily patents, has not changed in its popularity, although this ‘exclusivity mindset’ often slows down technology dissemination and integration, and thereby the development of holistic solutions for the global grand challenges we’re facing today.

In this session, led by Michael Kock, you will be exploring options to flip the dilemma of creating value while spreading a mindset of openness. Michael works at the interface between innovation, technology acceptance, and intellectual property for 25 years and now assists startups to design holistic IP, freedom-to-operate and value capture strategies. Together, you will explore how to evolve the current IP culture from ‘exclusivity and value capture’ to ‘access and benefit sharing’.

Behind the Scenes of Impact Investment with Caroline Steiblin & Kirchner Food Fellowship

Following the economic paradigm shift towards purpose and social responsibility, the question arises how and which types of investments will be received by startups and companies. That’s where impact investment comes into play. It specifically refers to investments made into organizations intending to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. And, as ‘Purpose before paycheck’ is one of the six attitudes that define the next-generation innovation, we’re more than excited to have partnered up with The Kirchner Group to take a glimpse behind the scenes of impact investment.

Led by Caroline Steiblin, a TFF Next Gen Council Member and the Kirchner Food Fellowship, this session will give you a hands-on approach to evaluating business models. Caroline has been involved with TFF since the 2015 Challenge in Lisbon and is a mathematics student with a background in physics and economics research. In her role, she hopes to continue educating stakeholders on the importance of food security, develop impactful partnerships, and empower sustainable entrepreneurs.

As a long-established partner, we’re excited to get the Kirchner Group involved with their Fellowship program — an opportunity for an elite group of student leaders to be engaged in investment decisions on agriculture-oriented businesses with ground-breaking technologies which can provide long-term sustainable solutions, both environmentally and economically to global food security. In this Specialization Track, they will be given the chance in finding their award winner. Exciting!

Have we sparked your curiosity?

Stay tuned for more details on upcoming Specialization Tracks, Skillbuilding Masterclasses, Capstone Projects, Keynote Speakers and so much more.

Check our Academy page for the most recent updates.


Meanwhile, share this blog post with your peers and get your hands on one of our Early Bird tickets, including a free ticket to the Summit, accommodation as well as food and drinks. Be quick, until prices go up from June, 1!