Karin Nordström Dyvelkov is the Vice President Intellectual Property at GEA Group AG. Karin holds a Masters in math and physics from Aarhus University and a PhD in physics from Danmarks Tekniske Universitet.

Please give a description of the work you do in your current position.

I manage a global team of IP (Intellectual property) Managers each with his or her own technical area of responsibility. We work with protecting the companies inventions, patents, trademarks, domains, trade secrets and much more. Apart from the work on protecting our inventions and know-how, we also work on enforcing our rights in case there are infringed by third parties.

How do you draw on the skills you learned as a physicist or engineer in your work?

I use my skills from physics every day, both to understand and evaluate new inventions, find the origin of a technical problem, and the methodical way of thinking that I learned during my studies.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the private industry?

I was always very curious about how the subjects in physics courses related to the real and non-ideal world. My masters project was made in collaboration with a Danish company, and this inspired me even more to look in the direction of the industry. It also opened my eyes to the endless opportunities and options there are in the private industry.

What motivated you to study physics or engineering in the first place?

I have always loved math and physics, and languages for that matter. In a way they are all tools that you can use to better understand the world. Physics opens your mind, and the learnings can be used in many different jobs besides the more traditional ones at the university and high school.

What advice would you give to young people (in particular women and minorities) who would like to pursue a career in the private industry?

Go for it! There are lots of jobs even within research in the industry. When working in the industry there are many diverse job options that requires people with many different skills. I can recommend finding a mentor (male or female) who already has experience to help you navigate and find your way. One way of getting experience with the industry without letting go of the university career is an industrial PhD.