Karsten Tittmann has worked in IT at Bayer for many years, and regularly supervises doctoral and postdoctoral students in his function. In a triangle linking Sebastian Dorok, Horstfried Läpple and himself he coordinates everything from the company’s perspective.
With this three-part blog series, we provide an insight into a special network that is typical for Bayer, and show how closely scientific research, business and IT are linked with one another: (1) Doctoral candidate Sebastian Dorok (2) Bayer manager Karsten Tittmann (3) BaySEN advisor Horstfried Läpple.
How long have you worked for Bayer, and what is your current scope of activity?
I’m a physicist and I’ve been working for Bayer since 1998. Until this summer I was responsible for research IT in the Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health and Animal Health Divisions worldwide. That means ensuring the development and operation of the IT systems according to the requirements of Bayer’s research organization, which is undertaken with numerous partners. Let me give you an example: we discuss new research approaches – such as genome research initiatives – with our researchers and clarify what data and analyses they require for this. We then search the market for software that can support these initiatives, or develop it ourselves. Together with the researchers, the solution is then tailored to Bayer’s needs and usually made available globally via our data center network. This also involves finding new potential solutions for problems that pose obstacles to our researchers. Since July, I’ve been responsible for the Bayer Group’s IT strategy.
What exactly was your role in the collaboration with Mr. Dorok?
My role primarily involved helping to design the research topic and – in the beginning – conveying the problem on the one hand and the significance for pharmaceutical research on the other hand. In addition, of course, I and my team were available for discussion and gave feedback.
What did the collaboration look like from your perspective?
The collaboration with Mr. Dorok and the university was very stimulating and straightforward. In the beginning (in the context of the master’s thesis), we primarily linked Bayer’s expertise in the area of bioinformatics/genome data with that of the university in the database environment and intensively discussed the possible advantages of this combination. Once the topic area was clearly defined, the cooperation became more relaxed because we wanted to ensure an independent research paper by Mr. Dorok, and thus uninfluenced results. Through regular research reports, Mr. Dorok kept us informed about new findings and his discussions with other research groups. Mr. Läpple took over the direct supervision and feedback for the doctoral thesis.
What objective does Bayer pursue with this type of collaboration?
Due to the extremely large data volumes in genome research, the existing IT solutions are not sufficient to cover our future needs. As the data are compiled in hospitals around the world, however, a “Bayer solution” doesn’t help here. Instead, we need methods that are used by everyone worldwide (hospitals, universities, industry). We wanted to initiate the discussion here and support research in this direction. It also helps us to gain an overview of the state of the art, allow suppliers to independently analyze our ideas and solutions, and get new ideas from outside the company.
Is the collaboration with Mr. Dorok a special case or a standard procedure for Bayer?
Cooperation within networks including outside partners and universities is established practice for Bayer, both in research itself and in IT. We want to promote ideas and support talented people associated with Bayer’s fields of activity, and share in outside ideas.
What do you particularly appreciate about Bayer as an employer?
I appreciate three things in particular about Bayer:
– Good ideas are welcomed and supported, and you almost always find a way to implement them.
– The work environment nowadays is very international and collegial: many colleagues on the team in Germany come from other countries, and our activities are networked with the Bayer staff on other continents.
– You can develop well and change within the Bayer Group.
This post is also available in: German