Olaf Kruse started his scientific carrier as a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College London with research topics on Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 1997 he returned to Bielefeld University/Germany, where he took over a group leader position in the field of Molecular Biology on microalgae.
In 2006 he was appointed as the Head of Life, Earth & Environmental Sciences at the European Science Foundation in Strasbourg. In 2007 he became a Research Fellow at The University of Queensland and a Co-Director of the International SOLARBIOFUELS consortium before he returned to Bielefeld University, where he built up the Algae Biotechnology & Bioenergy Group at the Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) focusing on molecular aspects of light to biomass and energy conversion and the establishment of microalgae as green cell factories. In 2009 he was appointed as a Full Professor at the Department of Biology and in 2015 as the Scientific Director of the CeBiTec.