Boundless mind

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.

Mrunal Gawade

Mrunal Gawade, from Pune, India, is completing his PhD at CWI, the Netherlands’ national institute for mathematics and computer science at Amsterdam Science Park.

"I choose CWI because it has not only a great research record, but also a track record in successful business start-ups, like Vectorwise and Monet DB Solutions. So it’s not just another academic institution: there is this great entrepreneurial atmosphere here. Back in India, I already helped to develop a successful company, so it’s important for me to combine research with entrepreneurialism. Here at Amsterdam Science Park, there are funding possibilities for start-ups thanks to Ace Venture Lab."

"I am just putting the finishing touches to my PhD thesis at CWI. My thesis topic is query parallelisation in multi-core CPUs. This is about making software to match the new, multi-core hardware – you can have as many as hundreds of cores, greatly increasing processing power. The question then is how best to use them - should one core do one job, or should each job be divided over multiple cores? Ultimately, my research is really about making database systems faster, giving quicker access to information, so although it sounds complicated it is relevant to everyone and everything."

“In other academic institutions you have to teach classes, but here you can focus solely on your research”

"Amsterdam Science Park is a great workplace, and I have almost completed my thesis with time to spare as a result. At CWI, you can concentrate completely on your research, unlike in other academic institutions where you have to teach classes. The pay scale is also better than in the USA, for example. My own research is part of the Commit programme, which has national funding. It unites over 200 people and various industrial parties, including thes Indian company Infosys. That makes it multi-dimensional. I work in a group of 20 people, representing 10 different nationalities, and we meet twice weekly to present our work. We also have regular get-togethers with the other CWI members – around 400 people. Collaborations are important at every level."

"I live on campus at Amsterdam Science Park. A few years ago, the Science Park acquired Amsterdam University College with 700 students and three new buildings – a very positive development. There’s a good infrastructure and facilities, it’s a kind of self-sustaining eco system that’s improving all the time. Of course, at the park there’s a great mix of different kinds of science institute. I have lots of friends who do physics, for example. It all adds up to a stimulating interdisciplinary environment where you can talk about many different things and attend lectures and seminars outside your own field of interest. There’s lots of space for collaboration and for learning new things."

“Amsterdam Science Park is a kind of self-sustaining eco system that’s improving all the time”

“Although right now my PhD is not directly convertible into a business product idea, doing it has taught me how to be an independent researcher and I intend starting my own small initiatives, perhaps using crowd-funding which I have also researched during my time here. Outside my studies, I’m involved in a programme with local schools, where we invite schoolchildren to CWI for a tour to get them interested in science. I’ve also created the Science Park Creatives group on Facebook to bring together innovative minds in the sciences and arts – there are around 1300 students living on campus here, and that’s a lot of potential. I see plenty of ideas, so it’s a question of bringing the right people together.”

Mrunal's various activities could be found at www.mrunalg.com