At Amsterdam Science Park, we believe knowledge has no borders. That’s why you’ll find cutting-edge institutes, top-class facilities and business incubators in one convenient location. You’ll meet motivated students, innovative researchers, talented scientists and adventurous entrepreneurs – all in an environment where it’s easy to work together. Cross-disciplinary initiatives and holistic thinking flourish. Ground-breaking research projects become successful spin-offs. That’s the strength of Amsterdam Science Park: connecting boundless minds.
Mark Beker set up Innoseis at Amsterdam Science Park after studying for a PhD in gravitational wave detectors at Nikhef.
“I’m from New Zealand, but my father is Dutch, so coming to the Netherlands to study 14 years ago was a natural step for me. I arrived at Amsterdam Science Park to do my PhD on gravitational wave detectors – I had some contact with Nikhef while doing my master’s in Delft, and I got very excited about the work going on here. Nikhef is the best place in the Netherlands to work on gravitational waves, whether your focus is on data analysis or building detectors."
“I started Innoseis with my PhD supervisor Jo van den Brand– he’s an excellent business mind as well as a scientist"
“Gravitational waves sound almost like science fiction when you talk about them – after all, they are the result of two black holes colliding millions of years ago. I find that an enthralling idea that reflects the vastness and the violence of the universe. On the other hand, I worked on the very applied area of the technical aspect of detectors. Innoseis is a spin-off of that work."
“With gravitational wave detectors, we’re always looking for ways to improve accuracy, and the technical development is therefore really cutting edge – it pushes the boundaries. The detectors are highly sensitive – seismic motions adversely affect them. In my PhD, I showed that, if you could measure the seismic field around a detector, then you could compensate for the seismic disturbance. This led to the development of new seismic sensors and ways of networking them, which caught the attention of the oil and gas industry. Innoseis was born."
“Science can learn from business about making choices”
“I started Innoseis with my PhD supervisor, Jo van den Brand – he’s a great business mind as well as an excellent scientist. Innoseis is all about turning Nikhef technology into commercial products. In effect, we sold our first system to Shell – and now we’re reaching out to the rest of world. Our technology will turn the industry upside down – it’s cheaper and it makes it easier to know what’s going on underground. Some 50-60% of all gas and oil gets left behind in the reservoirs, so by giving a better picture of the level of resources, our Innoseis sensors could allow us to extract them in a more responsible way."
“There are other applications too, including seismic monitoring for earthquakes, which our system can make much more cost-effective. It allows for a higher resolution of sampling and an understanding of causes, improving models of quake prediction. We are also talking to police and fire fighters about how to use the technology to possibly detect intruders and people who are trapped. That should become feasible in the next few years.
“I would like Innoseis to grow to the point where we’ve scared a lot of the bigger players!”
“Innoseis was born in mid-2013 and we were one of the early companies to have the support of Ace Venture Lab, which was excellent. It was great to be around other start-ups – we felt like we were exploring unchartered territory together. I made some good friends, and it’s good to see that some of the other starters from that time are now doing really well too. As for Innoseis, we now have five people on the payroll. My vision for us to take a portion of the market share for seismic equipment and revolutionise the industry by making seismic imaging more cost effective. I would like us to grow to the point where we’ve scared a lot of the bigger players!"
“The entrepreneurial spirit here at Amsterdam Science Park is great. There’s a real high tech-vibe and the mix of research areas, talents and facilities is perfect for starting companies. The new buildings add the right modern and professional atmosphere, I think. It’s an added attraction to be in Amsterdam, which is a fantastic place. On a critical note, I’d love to see the park develop and become more business-oriented. I find it can still give a highly academic, boffin-like impression. "
“As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned more how to deal with people rather than scientific problems: building relationships is the key. Science can learn from business about making choices, and of course moving in a commercial direction. Business can learn from science to be more analytic and solve problems in a rational manner, rather than relying on gut feeling.”