About academic futures

After more than 20 years working in research and research management, in 2016 I made the decision to leave the relative comfort and safety of my university managerial position and set up my own research management consultancy – academic futures I RMC.

academic futures I RMC is based in Munich, where I work closely with other experienced network partners to deliver training, coaching and consulting services for researchers and research institutions.

Dr. Thomas Koch – owner and founder

I am a research management consultant, business trainer and coach. Holding a PhD in physical chemistry from the UK, I have 10 years of international research experience and more than 12 years of work experience as a research manager and senior administrator at German universities.

I have held managerial positions at the Ruhr University Bochum (2002-2011) and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (2011-2015), providing high-level support and advisory services to both researchers and university top management. My professional focus covers research strategy, national and international research funding, knowledge and technology transfer, and early career researcher development.

Dr. Thomas Koch

Research management consulting

Since 2016 ⋅ Owner and founder, academic futures I RMC, Munich/Neubiberg

Training, coaching, and consulting in three key areas of research management:

  • Personal and professional researcher development
  • Research and research funding strategies
  • Organisational change processes

Leadership experience in higher education and research management (more than 12 years)

2011-2015 ⋅ Head of the Department Promotion of Research and Junior Academics, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

  • Human resources: responsible for more than 50 employees
  • Strategic development of the LMU Research Services to promote the acquisition of national and international research funding, knowledge and technology transfer, and early career researcher development
  • Project coordination for the process optimisation of the management of external research funding with an annual budget of over EUR 160 million

2007-2011 ⋅ Head of the Unit Research and Early Career Researchers, Department of University Development and Strategy, Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)

  • Responsible for providing high-level support and advisory services for both rectorate and researchers in the fields of institutional research strategy, external research funding and early-career researcher development
  • Member of the steering committee for the Excellence Initiative and lead editor for the Research Campus RUB institutional strategy
  • Project coordination for the implementation of the institutional strategy to promote top-level research, totalling over EUR 30 million

2002-2007 ⋅ Scientific Coordinator, Graduate School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)

  • Development, management and consolidation of a DAAD-funded graduate school with more than 200 doctoral candidates
  • Key hands-on support for the acquisition of several profile-building externally-funded projects, including the RUB Research School (Excellence Initiative), the Welcome Centre for Internationally Mobile Researchers (AvH) and the Early-Stage Training Network INTCHEM (EU), totalling more than EUR 10 million

International research experience (more than 10 years)

1999-2001 ⋅ Project Scientist for the ESA comet mission ROSETTA, University of Bern, CH

1996-1999 ⋅ Postdoc, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), CH

1990-1996 ⋅ PhD and Postdoc, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Memberships and complementary expertise

Member of the training and coaching pools of several universities and research institutions, including the Planck Academy by the Max Planck Society.

Independent reviewer for structural and organisational proposals, including funding programmes of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Helmholtz Association.

Speaker and consultant on research management for national and international organisations, including the European Commission, the European University Association (EUA), the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Volkswagen Foundation.


2020 ⋅ Certified Organisational Transformation Coach, Competence On Top

2019 ⋅ Certified Business Trainer and Coach, Competence On Top

2005 ⋅ Training Course for Junior Science Managers, Centre for Science Management (ZWM)

1994 ⋅ PhD in Physical Chemistry, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

My network partners

Dr. Anke Soemer

Anke Soemer is an expert in science policy and management. She has been at the Fraunhofer Society since 2015 and works as a senior advisor in the Presidential Department with a focus on research strategy and digital policy. In 2018, she coordinated the Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen (Alliance of Scientific Organisations) Executive Office when Fraunhofer held the chair. Previously, she was at the Max Planck Society (2000–2015), where she most recently held the position of Head of the Department for Young Scientists, Diversity and the Coordination of Presidential Commissions and played a pivotal role in re-conceptualising support for young scientists.

Anke Soemer studied public administration and law at the universities of Konstanz and Ottawa and received her doctorate at the Technical University of Munich. She is a certified business trainer & coach (with the dvct, the German national association for coaching and training) and supports organisations and researchers in strategy processes, research planning and transfer.

Dr. Brigitte Weiss-Brummer

Brigitte Weiss-Brummer is an expert in European research funding. Since the implementation of the ERC programme in 2007 she has supported more than 100 successful ERC grant proposals. Since 2018 she has been providing hands-on workshops and individual guidance for researchers and administrators in the ERC programme as a freelance consultant.

Brigitte Weiss-Brummer holds a doctorate and Habilitation in biology/genetics. She has more than 19 years of experience in basic research in an international context. She has profound knowledge in the areas of research management, support for early career researchers and university administration, heading the EU office at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich from 2008 to 2017.