The various ways to get in touch with DSM.
Meet our Chief Technology Officer, responsible for securing the technology position of DSM - now and in the future, and the Corporate Science Fellows leading each of our scientific competences.
As CTO, it is my job to secure the technology position of DSM - now and in the future. This includes working closely with the Business Groups to ensure that DSM has the right competencies internally, as well as the right collaborations with external partners. In addition, I believe it’s important to have a clear view of our short, mid, and long-term innovation opportunities. I’m a polymer chemist by training, but my more recent experience lies in life sciences. This gives me a broad understanding, which I use in discussions with teams to challenge them. I’ve worked in many different countries and in various disciplines, experiencing different cultures. As a result, both from a cultural and subject matter perspective, I have a broad interest and tend to look for the big picture, taking different angles and enjoying putting things together in innovative ways.
I find DSM an incredibly inspiring company that I’m very proud to be part of. What we do as a company is truly meaningful, and the notion of sustainability is strongly engrained in our culture. I find the people at DSM are open and highly committed. But what excites me even more is the unique breadth of DSM’s capabilities. Innovation comes about when you bring different disciplines together. Within DSM, we can bring together so many different capabilities, facilitating unique cross-fertilization. Take our materials scientists applying their knowledge of flow properties and viscosity to help solve challenges in yogurt making, for example. Working at such unique interfaces is what makes DSM so special and inspiring.
Some of DSM’s initiatives I hope will lead to some major breakthroughs are the Green & Clean Ocean programs. By applying our materials and expertise, we can certainly help make our oceans - and planet - more sustainable. More generally, as we have a very broad portfolio of vitamins and nutritional supplements, I see major opportunities in terms of improving nutrition in a world where millions of children are still starving. We already have several initiatives running in Africa and India, and I believe we can make a unique contribution to the general well-being of mankind.
Geleen, the Netherlands
Generating new insights to steer the development of our strains, processes, applications and products; not only for R&D but also for production, IP, registration, and marketing and sales. To ensure that DSM is fit for current and future business needs, I make sure that we proactively scout, develop and implement new technologies. For example, we are developing high-throughput enzyme characterization technologies in relevant (food) matrices for structure-function insights to steer our enzymes product development. Furthermore, sensors are an exciting area allowing read-out of molecules for point-of-need applications at a factory or customer level. Our extensive external network enables us to develop and apply technologies that we don’t have in-house.
DSM’s unique opportunity to combine analytical expertise and equipment from across different areas of life and materials science. For example, we are using our global analytical network to create value for the different DSM businesses. Furthermore, analytical experts from our Biotechnology, Materials and Nutrition units are working together on new developments and joining forces to solve issues for innovation projects, customer complaints or troubleshooting in production plants. I’m also inspired by DSM’s drive to deliver science-based, sustainable and scalable solutions that address the challenges facing our world today.
Finding a way to leverage the true value of our analytical data through digital transformation. Hopefully, this results in new insights that lead to the discovery of novel solutions for the major challenges of the world!
Delft, the Netherlands
Natural product discovery programs, yeast strains and enzymes that can convert agricultural residues into bioethanol and various microbial cell factory programs for more sustainable production of enzymes, biochemicals and natural products, such as antibiotics. Another aspect is the development of both traditional evolution and bioinformatics methods for fast screening and safe engineering of desired microbial cell factories. At the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, my projects focus on the development of new cell engineering methods for filamentous fungi, to accelerate the discovery of natural products for – among other things – new antibiotics.
That Biotechnology can contribute in many ways to the big global societal challenges, as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, by addressing key technical challenges and that DSM is in the position to make a real contribution. The fast developments in the Biological Sciences are both a constant challenge and a source of inspiration, especially the increasing knowledge and technologies to characterize, understand and deploy microbial life. Another source of inspiration is the necessity to do so in a responsible manner, which requires good education, relevant stakeholder networks, clear communication and continuous learning.
The development and societal acceptance of genetic and other biotechnologies that enable simpler, faster and more predictable engineering of cells and entire biological systems. This will stimulate novel approaches and potential solutions to the big challenges that lie ahead for society, especially in terms of population growth, health, climate change, energy, raw material and food security and sustainable development.
Delft, the Netherlands
My day-to-day activities fall into two categories. On the one hand, I manage the Chemical Research Center of DSM Nutritional Products, and on the other hand I work ad interim as a Corporate Science Fellow at DSM. This involves a lot of networking, bringing people together, solving day-to-day problems, assuring a safe working environment, and developing and maintaining state-of-the-art infrastructure. Last, but not least, it’s about discussing science, helping people to develop, shaping scientific ideas and defining research strategies. In short, it’s the best job of the world!
Working with curious and open-minded people to achieve collaborative success. Equally, I’m inspired by looking beyond the boundaries of my own scientific area and trying to shape our future product portfolio. At DSM, I’m part of a company that values sustainability and safety – not only on paper, but also in reality. We are highly committed to these values and we really “walk the talk”.
Getting the ultimate lowest cost, most sustainable production process of one of our big products into a plant. Personally, I’d love to participate in the development of the next two or three big-ticket items that will shape the future of our company for years to come.
Fermentation scale-up. In addition to the industry’s traditional trial-and-error approach, we’re advancing the field with a more rational, high-precision method based on computation and scale-down experiments. We’re doing this through public-private partnerships involving DSM and various companies, and technical universities in Delft, Stuttgart, Liege and Shanghai – supported by national science foundations. Together, we can work at the forefront of science, while ensuring that any developments are directly applicable within the industry.
Being able to turn bio-process dreams into reality. I’m also passionate about bridging the gaps: between lab-scale RT&D and industrial operations for instance, or between fundamental and applied science, or experts and talents. I’m also excited about bridging spaces between competences in the bioprocess value chain, from upstream processing, microbiology and fermentation to downstream processing, product formulation and application.
Acceleration of the bio-economy through the launch of new bio-refineries that efficiently convert renewable energy and feedstock into bio-products, replacing fossil-based products. I also envision sustainability metrics taken into full account in decisions that affect economy, ecology and society.
Delft, the Netherlands
A range of interesting and exciting projects, particularly within our Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Solar businesses. For Additive Manufacturing, I’m helping to develop and generate new powder and liquid materials with breakthrough properties, as well as investigating the recycling of polymer materials. For Advanced Solar, I’m continuing to develop Anti-Reflective and Anti-Soiling coatings, and scouting technologies for possible new solar ventures by engaging with MIT and our visiting scientists in these areas.
Engaging with customers to find out what their unspoken, unmet needs are, and how our competences can help deliver on those needs. In particular, I enjoy being able to design and create materials up from the molecular level to the mesoscopic level – while ensuring they have the right functionality at the macroscopic scale to meet those needs.
That 3D printed parts can achieve a full scope of properties by careful design of macromolecular architecture and the processability of these polymers.
Geleen, the Netherlands
Developing our materials sciences competences in the fields of materials processing, properties, and polymer physics. We are applying these competences to various projects in order to develop new high-performance engineering plastics and fibers, innovative and environmentally friendly coatings and materials for biomedical, advanced solar and additive manufacturing applications.
Being able to apply state-of-the-art academic insight and knowledge in an industrial context; and then translating that knowledge into value-added applications that can drive sustainable living to the next level. I’m inspired by discovering “how materials work” and, based on this, finding solutions and opportunities to develop new materials.
The development of polymeric materials that enable the most demanding applications of our customers, with unique new functionalities that contribute to improved health and living, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity. In particular, I’d like to see the development of new polymer products with a step-change in lower weight, higher durability, and longer life spans – all of which will help to drive a more sustainable society.
Geleen, the Netherlands
A wide range of exciting innovation projects and competence development areas. Specifically, I’m actively involved in supporting new enzyme development activities in collaboration with our alliance partner Novozymes, as well as some exciting new ventures in the area of precision nutrition and digital agriculture. Dominant themes of my current work are environmental sustainability and animal welfare. It’s enormously rewarding to make a positive contribution to the vision of DSM in these domains!
Working with university partners and in particular in advising and mentoring PhD students and younger scientists. I find it very rewarding to see the passion for science and engagement with the future direction of the animal production industry which is evident in both our network of professors and our graduate students. I also take a lot of pride in the level of investment that DSM makes in the academic community and how we leverage fundamental insights into tangible solutions for our customers.
To embed digital intelligence in all we do. The rate of progress in digital technology globally is extremely exciting and in animal protein production we are just at the beginning of this digital transformation. As a scientist, having big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, sensors and more at my fingertips is very exhilarating. I can’t wait to see what breakthroughs will be made throughout the food value chain in the coming years!
At a range of institutions and organizations. I’m currently supervising seven graduate students in collaboration with several universities in various regions. I serve on two awards committees for the Poultry Science Association. I review extensively for a wide range of international nutrition and animal science journals and also serve on a number of conference organizing committees. I’m regularly asked to give plenary talks at major scientific conferences and also to provide technical support for key accounts across all regions. I served for more than six years as an Adjunct Professor for the University of Sydney in Australia and am now an Adjunct Professor for Purdue University in the US.
A home office in Scotland, but I report through Kaiseraugst, Switzerland.
Three main topics: first, shaping the nutrition focus of the Corporate Research Program for next year. This includes R&D competence management and budget planning, among other activities, and requires close alignment among several stakeholders. Second, working on the innovation portfolio, by giving regular medical and scientific advice to the project teams of various segments and to the senior management via the Science Council and other fora. Third, building up a new competence for DSM, Behavioral Sciences. This competence applies modern diagnostics, advanced data analytics, and effective communication methods to change human behavior in an ethical way and create sustainable habits considering consumer preferences.
The fact that, through nutritional research and its implementation, I can help far more people than I ever could as a practicing physician. The positive public health effect one can achieve via prevention and by enabling good nutrition for everyone is tremendous. Our environment and our lifestyles are rapidly changing worldwide. We are living in an era where, with the help of advanced scientific research and development, as well as new disruptive technologies and modern communication, healthy and sustainable living is truly achievable - something that was unimaginable a couple of decades ago or, in some cases, even a few years ago.
Nutrition becoming fully personalized. Currently, food is mainly mass-produced, and individual consumption choices are essentially made based on affordability, personal preferences, and the available – and sometimes unreliable or unstructured – information on health and nutrition needs. Producing more nutritious, affordable and sustainable food, and consuming it based on individual needs, is the future. Non-invasive diagnostic technologies, together with artificial-intelligence-aided consumer education, will change the way nutrition is integrated into our lifestyles and our healthcare. My dream is that one day we will be able to substantially expand the healthy lifespan of all people, by mitigating the harm of civilization-related, non-communicable diseases.
The various ways to get in touch with DSM.
DSMs toolbox of scientific competences is grouped into seven areas, each with many advanced areas of expertise.
In science & innovation DSM is involved in 80+ academic partnerships, 30+ Public-Private Partnerships, and numerous venturing projects and joint ventures.