Science Leader for Biopolymers and Chemicals at Scion

What was your position at VITO and what is your current job?

At VITO, I worked in the Sustainable Chemistry unit as a business development manager. Now I work at Scion, one of New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), primarily in research and development around forestry, manufacturing, bioproducts and the wider bio-economy. More specifically, I am science leader for the biopolymers and chemicals team within the in the manufacturing and bioproducts part of Scion. Our work around biopolymers, bioenergy, industrial biotechnology or the sustainable building environment is very closely related to that of VITO on these topics.

How has your position at VITO influenced your further career?

Together with my colleagues I am currently responsible for setting the direction of our scientific research, and more specifically generating impact through our science and technology. The knowledge that I gained in my role as a business development manager while at VITO has proved extremely useful, such as for the contacts with companies and research institutes in North America and Asia.  It is through these networks that I am able to identify possible customers or collaborators for Scion. My present role has allowed me to combine everything I learned as a scientist with the commercial knowledge that I gained as a business development manager. For me, it brings both worlds together and it is a fantastic job to do.

What are your best memories of VITO?

As you would expect, my best memories involve my former colleagues. I learned many different things from them, both on a personal and a professional level. Specifically for my current role it is important to know how to work with people, how to innovate and how to take commercialisation to the next level. It is fantastic to be able to continue the collaboration. The post-doc project run jointly by VITO and SCION, which was set up after my departure, is now already evolving into a broader long-term partnership between SCION and VITO.

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