PhDs in Startups & Small Companies

Fabio Gori, PhD

E031 How to Develop a Career in Data Science as a PhD? How to Shine at the Job Interviews?

Dr. Fabio Gori is a multidisciplinary professional, using his mathematical and data science skills to tackle industrial and biomedical challenges. While completing his degree in mathematics at the University of Pisa (IT), Fabio began researching the biomedical field; he liked it so much that he decided to keep working in the experimental sciences.

Therefore, Fabio began a PhD in Bioinformatics & Data Science at Radboud University Nijmegen in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The focus of his research was developing computational methods or the analysis of microbial communities. After completing his doctorate, he became a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter (UK), where he was using quantitative methods (bioinformatics, differential equation modeling, control theory) to study antibiotic resistance.

He later decided to move to the industry, and so he worked in the German biotech for precision oncology as a bioinformatics data scientist. He moved back to the Netherlands to work as a data scientist at the AI startup Machine2Learn, where he works both on industrial and biomedical projects.

E026 From Startup Culture, Through Consultancy Company and Genomics, to Hosting a Podcast as a PhD

Dr. Nick Edwards is a neuroscientist by training, having completed his PhD and Postdoc training at Brown University, the NIH, and UC San Diego. As a Postdoc, he decided that business provided the best way to scale up solutions to problems he cares about. Since leaving the bench, Nick worked in business strategy at Boston Consulting Group and returned to San Diego to work for Illumina. Now, he is transitioning to a startup company in stealth mode. Nick is also the host of the Once a Scientist podcast (, where he interviews scientists about their careers in academia and beyond. He’s a passionate advocate for mental health and training the next generation of scientists who will change the world.

In this webinar, Nick told us about his odyssey through the job market after the PhD: from his work in sales in the startup culture, through his work as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, to business development at a company in genomics, Illumina. He also explained the origins of the Once a Scientist podcast, and the mission behind it.

E013 Mariam Kostandyan on Human Resources Careers for PhDs. How To Become a Coach?

Dr. Mariam Kostandyan obtained her PhD in Experimental/NeuroCognitive Psychology from Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. In her PhD, she worked with multimodal neuro-cognitive and behavioral techniques, such as behavior studies, neuroimaging, electroencephallography, pupillometry, and brain stimulation. In the process, she became a researcher with broad expertise in behavioral and (neuro-)cognitive studies with a strong emphasis on data-driven approach and data analytics.

Yet, after her PhD she decided to step outside academia. Today, she works as a Research Consultant at a recruitment agency, Schelstraete Delacourt Associates. She is responsible for a strategic search for potential candidates on the executive level. She works with professionals across the board range of industries — from the agricultural industry to IT. Among other responsibilities, she determines the recruitment strategy based on parallels with the client or the nature of their business model, she conducts market studies to select the best candidates and conducts interviews with the candidates on the phone.

In this webinar, we will ask Mariam about her decision to switch from neurocognitive studies to recruitment. Is it difficult to make this jump? What is the most important while hiring executives? Is this true that most companies don’t trust in the management skills of fresh PhD graduates? How to increase your chances at the job interview?

In this webinar, Mariam told us about her decision to leave neurocognitive studies on behalf of the industry. How did she land a job in HR? What is the most important while hiring executives? Is this true that most companies don’t trust in the management skills of the fresh PhD graduates?


E009 From PhD in Mathematics to Freelancing as a Data Scientist. Is It Worth To Do a PhD?

Dr. Mattias Hansson graduated from a PhD program in Mathematics at Lund University in 2013, with a thesis entitled, “Statistical Segmentation and Registration of Medical Ultrasound Data.” He then completed a Postdoc project at the University of Copenhagen and subsequently, he worked as a Scientific Programmer at the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam. In 2018, he took a decision to leave the academic career track and become a Data Scientist. Initially, he chose to work for the Dept Agency in Rotterdam. However, as of now, Mattias works as a freelance Data Scientist.

In this webinar, Mattias told us about his post-PhD experience so far. Was the choice to work for a consultancy company a good decision? How did the corona crisis affect his job perspectives? How does he spend his time these days? How does he see himself in the future? Is it worth to do a PhD?


E008 How To Start a Career in AI as a PhD? Andre Marques Smith on Working for a BCI Startup

Dr. Andre Marques-Smith was born in Portugal to a mixed Scottish and Portuguese background. After undergraduate studies in Psychology, he completed his PhD at the University of Oxford, mapping the development of sensory cortical neural circuits in neonatal rodents. In early post-doctoral work at King’s College London, he studied the role that genes play in instructing neurons to form the right connections. He then shifted to systems neuroscience, completing projects on the development of electrophysiological tools for simultaneously recording hundreds of neurons and on neural circuits underlying instinctive vision.

However, even though Andre developed a career in science — including publishing his work in the most prestigious research journals such as Science, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron & Nature Communications — and got all the credits to stay in academia for a lifetime, in 2019, he took a personal decision to pursue a new challenge and direction in his career. After a period of self-study on Deep Neural Networks and Reinforcement Learning, he joined CoMind Technologies to work on building a wearable brain-computer interface. He is very open about his motivation and life philosophy, and he is eager to help other researchers who are hesitating on how to pursue their careers.

In this webinar, Andre told us how he re-qualified from an experimental neuroscientists towards an expert in programming neural networks — all by himself and using only the knowledge acquired online. He also shared why he believes that the startup culture is particularly welcoming to PhDs, and why it is easier to thrive in a startup than in a corporation.

E006 From Assistant Professorship to Deep Tech Startups. Peter Lewinski on PhDs in Financial Market

Dr. Peter Lewinski is a University of Oxford graduate with Postdoc/Assistant Professor in economics from the top business schools, with hundreds of citations and 8 years of experience in AI. He is a recipient of Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship for his PhD at the University of Amsterdam. After his PhD, he worked as ING Bank director of the Credit Risk Modeling department and London Mayfair Fintech associate. Currently, he works as a management team member in four Amsterdam deep tech startups, driving sales/business development (earlier: R&D).

In this webinar, Peter told us about his unusual journey from his Master’s studies at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, to where he is now – management teams of four deep tech startups at a time. Why did he quit his position as an Assistant Professor in a prestigious business school? Why did he choose to take a loan in a bank to do yet another Master’s program after quitting his Assistant Professorship position? Why did he choose to work under the radar and not promote himself on the media? What is the only thing that you cannot buy with money? In this webinar, he told us all this, and much more!