Synthetic Biology

The first ryon Summer School is a platform that promotes exchange between scientists, innovators, investors and experts in the emerging field of synthetic biology. The main objective of the Summer School is to provide participants with the opportunity to develop and advance innovative business ideas. With a limited number of participants (maximum 50), an intimate and interactive atmosphere will be created to foster the exchange of knowledge, experiences and ideas.

From Idea to Start Up

What: Synthetic Biology

When: 4th – 8th September 2023

Where: Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Mainz & Gernsheim

Who: Young scientists (Master, PhD student or Postdoc) with a background in molecular biology, biochemistry, synthetic biology or biomolecular engineering.

Further information at

How to start a business? Have you ever wondered what it takes to start a successful business?

The aim of the summer school is to motivate scientists to develop an idea and create a pitch deck that could form the basis of a start-up company. Start-ups need to attract attention in order to obtain funding from investors. A convincing presentation is essential to show that the idea has commercial potential and attractiveness. During the first 2 days, you will receive input from renowned scientists and entrepreneurs and generate your own business idea. After the idea selection process, teams will be formed with the support of a facilitator who is an expert in match making, team building and idea generation. Days 3 and 4 will focus on developing and refining the idea and creating a pitch slide deck with a dedicated team of motivators and supporters. With this final pitch, you and your team have the chance to win a €5000 prize, sponsored by ryon, to bring the idea to life. The pitches will be presented to a panel of experts from the High Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), Evonik and BASF. Finally, the award will be presented by Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing and Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Hesse, during the opening session of the Transition Centre, which opens the doors of 6 labs for start-ups in Gernsheim.

Each participant will learn the essentials of starting a business and will receive a certificate!

The Summer School programme runs daily from 9am to 5pm – drinks and food will be provided throughout the programme, including two evening events on Monday and Wednesday.


Day 1: Scientific talks by leading scientists in the field of synthetic biology at the Merck Conference Center, Darmstadt.

Day 2: Meet SynBio company founders and discuss their experience at the Merck Innovation Center, Darmstadt.

Day 3: Team presentation and match making, find idea partners, Hessische Staatskanzlei Wiesbaden.

Day 4: Business plan development and coaching, Johnannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Day 5: Pitch and ryon-founders Award Ceremony, ryon Greentech Accelerator at Fluxum Greentech Parc Gernsheim.

More information about the program can be found here (opens in new tab) .

The programme is supported by the Goethe University Frankfurt, the Technical University Darmstadt, the Gutenberg University Mainz and the technology transfer centres Highest, Innovectis and TQ.

The winner will receive a prize to support the realisation of the best business idea in SynBio! All participants will receive a certificate.

Do you want to know more about the 1st Rhine-Main Universities Summer School or do you want to apply? Applicants are requested to send a CV, a letter of motivation (max. 1 page) and optionally a summary of a SynBio project (max. 1 page) that they would like to work on during the Summer School. Applicants who wish to define a project during the Summer School or who wish to join a proposed project do not need to submit the project summary.

Send your application to

Invited Speaker

Kerstin Göpfrich

Professor for Biophysical Engineering of Life at the Heidelberg University at the Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH) and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research.

Victor de Lorenzo

Chemist and Research Professor in the CNB-CSIC, Madrid where he heads the Laboratory of Environmental Molecular Microbiology and works at the the interface between the Synthetic Biology and Environmental Biotechnology.

Kaspar Valgepea

Associate Professor/Group Leader, ERA Chair in Gas Fermentation Technologies, UT Institute of Technology Tartu in Estland. He aims to address global biosustainability challenges through the integration of gas fermentation technologies with systems and synthetic biology.

Wilfried Weber

Scientific Director of the INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials and Professor of New Materials at Saarland University.


Ricarda Finnern

Riccarda Finnern Chief Scientific Officer at LenioBio GmbH Global programme leader and molecular immunologist with over 20 years' experience in academia, contract research organisations (Fraunhofer Gesellschaft) and the pharmaceutical industry (Dyax s.a., Bayer AG). Mini-MBA from Falconbury Ltd, London. Co-founder and CSO of Avantgarde AG. Extensive line management experience (cross-functional and cross-cultural team member) and budget responsibility. Ten years working experience abroad. Expert in the development of pharmaceutical products, e.g. antibodies, bispecifics and antibody-drug conjugates. Current focus on immunotherapy, antibody-drug conjugates and paediatrics.

Cansu Tekin

Cansu Tekin is an iGEM community project leader and biotech enthusiast. As an experienced molecular biologist , she brings with her a strong background in project management, business development and scientific research. She has extensive experience in managing diverse projects, conducting thorough due diligence and building strategic partnerships. Her ability to combine scientific expertise with a practical business mindset is what sets her apart.

Tobias Dölle

Tobias Dölle is a Research & Business Analyst at SPRIND – the Federal Agency for Leap Innovations.


Bartosz Kajdas

Bartosz Kajdas is an experienced expert in supporting academic start-ups. Since 2014, he has accompanied more than 200 academic startups in their early stages at TU Darmstadt and the University of Heidelberg, and conducted more than 1,000 consultations with founders from different scientific disciplines. His passion is to promote and support the growth of innovative companies.

Sabine General

Sabine General works at the TU Darmstadt and lectures in the Masters Programme Entrepreneurship at the TU Darmstadt. She is the author of numerous articles on innovation and creativity and has more than 20 years of experience in facilitating innovation workshops and creativity training.


Markus Pompejus

Markus Pompejus studied biology and holds a PhD from the Georg-August University in Göttingen. He has held various responsibilities and leadership positions at BASF in Germany, South Korea and the USA, ranging from research, product and process development, commercial operations, production, new business development to general management. In his current position as Vice President Group Research, one of his focus areas is the interaction with start-up companies. He is based in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Silko Grimm

Silko Grimm currently manages the political networks for the Innovation Department of Evonik Operations GmbH. He started his career in 2011 in the Business Line Health Care as Innovation Project Manager. From 2016 to 2022 he was Director of Strategic Projects and Head of the Project Management Office of the Business Line Health Care. Silko Grimm holds a doctorate in engineering from the Martin Luther University Halle -Wittenberg and the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics (Halle) and studied physics and computer science at the University of Applied Sciences Merseburg. He is also co-speaker of the German NanoBioMedicine Platform.

Niels Sharman

Niels Sharman has been an investment manager in HTGF's Life Science & Chemistry team since 2020. Previously, he gained experience in the pharmaceutical industry and worked for a biotech start-up. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and a master's degree in management from Technische Universität München.


Jörg von Hagen

Jörg von Hagen is Managing Director of ryon – GreenTech Accelerator Gernsheim GmbH – he is a biotechnologist and cell biologist by training and has more than 30 years of experience in industrial and applied R&D at Merck KGaA.

Heinz Koeppl

Heinz Koeppl is director of the Centre for Synthetic Biology at TU Darmstadt and professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and adjunct professor at the Department of Biology. He is currently also heading the graduate school "Life Science Engineering" at TU Darmstadt. He holds a M.Sc. in physics from Graz Karl-Franzens University and a Ph.D in electrical engineering from Graz University of Technology, Austria.

Melanie Mikosch-Wersching

Melanie Mikosch-Wersching is Managing Director of the Centre for Synthetic Biology at TU Darmstadt. She holds an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biology from TU Darmstadt and was a junior research group leader at the University of Heidelberg.

Steffen Bruckner

Steffen Bruckner is the managing director of ryon – GreenTech Accelerator Gernsheim GmbH – Steffen holds a degree in business mathematics.

Ulrike Wedel

Ulrike Wedel is executive assistance at ryon. She supports the planning and organisation of meetings and events.


If you would like to claim your idea as owner before the summer school starts, please send the idea forehand to the indicated contact to assure that the idea is attributed to you and any additionally generated ideas resulting in IP are joint rights and maybe used by all team members that contributed to the idea.