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About Us

The SynCom Office

The SynCom Office coordinates processes between the boards and Topics within the Helmholtz Research Field 'Earth and Environment', external stakeholders, and partners. Furthermore, the SynCom Office helps organize events such as synthesis workshops, delegation trips, and parliamentary events. The SynCom Office guides the strategic progress of SynCom and is responsible for overseeing the execution of all SynCom-related initiatives.


The SynCom Anchor Persons

The SynCom Anchor Persons (1 FTE/Centre) support the SynCom activities and establish contacts within the respective Helmholtz Earth and Environment Centre.

Samu Sellmaier

Annette Kirschmann

Former colleagues

  • Samu Sellmaier - Junior Consultant
  • Annette Kirschmann - Junior Consultant

Internship at SynCom in the Helmholtz Research Field Earth & Environment

SynCom Team © Jan Pauls Fotografie

Atmospheric Science Symposium © Sophie Grunau

Exchange at the EGU Science Policy Interface Splinter Meeting © Marie Heidenreich

Pizza in the office © Sophie Grunau

Preparing for the parliamentary breakfast © Katharina Sielemann

Team for the parliamentary breakfast © Jan Pauls Fotografie

Visiting the Bundestag © Arendt Stödter

Internship report Sophie Grunau

Sophie Grunau completed an internship at the SynCom Coordination Office in Berlin from February to May 2024. In her internship report, she shares her impressions.

During my PhD in Palaeoclimatology at University of Wollongong, Australia, where I primarily generate and analyze data, I realized that I wanted to understand how scientific data is used outside the academic community. Listening to Marie’s and Annette’s talk at the conference of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) 2023 on "What Makes Science-and-Policy Dialogue Successful?" sparked my interest in the work of SynCom.

Over the past months, I gained invaluable insights into the diverse elements necessary for successful science synthesis and communication. During my time at SynCom, I i) had the opportunity to visit the NCAS Atmospheric Science Symposium in Leeds, where I learned about science communication within a leading scientific institution, ii) was able to attend the EGU Conference, where I was able to share my time between my PhD research by listening to many interesting talks as well as giving my own, and attending insightful talks and workshops on science communication and the science-policy-interface, gaining insight into the networks supporting these fields, iii) helped organize workshops with scientists from several Helmholtz Centres and stakeholders from industry and political offices, where collaborative efforts were made to tackle critical questions, and iv) supported the CDR expertise mapping project, which allowed me to merge my new knowledge with my Python expertise from my PhD, while also learning new skills such as Visual Basic and how to perform a mail merge.
One of the highlights of my experience was assisting in organizing a parliamentary breakfast at the Bundestag, where I witnessed exemplary science communication in action. I ended my internship with a presentation on climate communication that reflected the insights I gained during my time, especially, how important it is to know your audience when talking about science. Understanding your audience not only in terms of the knowledge they already have, but also their values enables communication on a level of mutual respect.

Until the end of July, I will continue working at SynCom as a research assistant before resuming my PhD full-time. My experience at SynCom has highlighted the importance of organizations that support science synthesis and communication. It has also taught me a lot about myself, and the work I enjoy. However, I also miss the deep dive into data analysis, answering a question while simultaneously thinking of ten new ones.

While I’m still figuring out my career path post-PhD, my time at SynCom has been invaluable in shaping my future direction. I am deeply grateful to everyone that made my time at SynCom such a great experience, all the people that let me ask questions, offered great advice and support, and the amazing team at the office. Most of all, I want to thank Marie, for being open to talk after the IUGG presentation. Thank you for your great advice, for supporting my ideas, and for making me feel part of a team.

Annette Kirschmann

Polarlichter in Schweden

Vortrag bei der IUGG '23

Im Eislabor des AWI mit Katharina Sielemann; ©Roland Koch

Internship report Annette Kirschmann

Annette Kirschmann completed an internship at the SynCom coordination office from July to October 2023 in Berlin. Her report gives insights into her experiences.

While working in the SynCom office, I was able to gain exciting insights into the scientific cooperation of the Helmholtz centers in the research field Earth & Environment and actively participate in the implementation of various projects. Some highlights were i) planning and implementation of a parliamentary breakfast on the topic of sea level rise, ii) kick-off workshops of this year's launched SynCom projects, iii) contributing to a publication in the field of mobility research at the German Aerospace Center, iv) accompanying a group of researchers from the German Research Center for Geosciences to collect radar data in a forest in Sweden, v) shadowing Isabelle Winter from the Helmholtz office and Oda Hassepass from the mobility committee in the Berlin parliament, and vi) my presentation on "What makes science-and-policy dialogue successful" at the IUGG 2023 together with Marie Heidenreich.

I would especially like to thank the Alfred Wegener Institute for the great introduction to the Helmholtz Earth and Environment research program at the beginning of my internship and the opportunity to experience the ice lab; from +30°C to -30°C in 2 minutes!

After my internship, I will continue to work at SynCom as a research assistant.

I look back on a formative time of close collaboration with Helmholtz researchers and thank everyone who gave me exciting insights into their work. Thank you, Marie, for your trust, the good collaboration, and the many doors you opened for me in the last months, so that I could get a comprehensive picture of science synthesis, communication and management.

Conference room

To host workshops and conferences within framework of the SynCom Projects and for researchers of the Helmholtz Association, a large, bright conference room is available at the SynCom location in Berlin-Mitte.

  • Natural light, large window front, blinds
  • Approximately 73 sqm
  • Space for up to 30 people, seating arrangement: conference style, i.e., rectangular tables with chairs all around
  • Technical equipment: projector, room microphone, camera, 55" monitor, WiFi
  • 2 pin boards, 1 magnetic board
  • Fully equipped, spacious kitchen (refrigerator, induction cooker, microwave, dishwasher, coffee machines, dishes, and cutlery for 30 people)
  • 4 restrooms