Hemal Naik


Cooperation Fellowship

City, Country:

Constance, Germany




Oct 2022 - Nov 2022

Born in Mumbai/India.

Hemal Naik lives in Konstanz/Germany and is a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. Naik holds a degree in biomedical engineering from Mumbai University (2008), subsequently working at L&T Ltd. in Mysore/India until 2010, when he moved to Munich/Germany to pursue an MA in biomedical computing at the Technical University of Munich (2013).

After completing his MA, he embarked on a PhD (2013–2020) in computer science at the Technical University of Munich in cooperation with Extend3D GmbH. Around this time, he started bird watching, a hobby which ultimately motivated him to leave the field of industrial research and move the focus of his PhD toward wildlife research with the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior.

Since 2017, Naik has been developing software to study large groups of animals using aerial images (UAV), computer vision and machine learning. He is one of the lead researchers in the MELA project, which focuses on the study of leking, a rare mating behavior of Blackbucks (antelopes) in India.

In addition to bird watching, Naik enjoys sketching, walking in the mountains and napping next to large trees. He collaborates with several institutions and independent artists to showcase a different side of science through art projects. Additionally, he has given several public talks and written pop-science articles on topics including animal tracking on a global scale.

Recent collaborations include projects with fellows of Akademie Schloss Solitude (2020–ongoing), courses with Merz Akademie (2020–2022) and mentoring a team at the Driving the Human event (2021–2022).

During his »field trip« at Akademie Schloss Solitude, he seeks to find a way to share his experience of working with the animals through stories. He intends to combine storytelling with audio or visual media and produce a series of short stories based on the daily life of animals at the Blackbuck National Park in India.

Hemal Naik’s residence ist part of »Field Trip« – a new transdisciplinary residency program between Akademie Schloss Solitude and Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz.