Friday - October 21, 2016

First Covestro Science Celebration at K 2016

Awards for outstanding researchers

Covestro Science Award goes to Prof. André Bardow, RWTH Aachen University / Research medals go to four Covestro scientists / Eight new Science Fellows introduced
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After receiving the Covestro Science Award, Prof. Dr.-Ing. André Bardow from RWTH Aachen University explains his research findings on life cycle analysis of CO2-based products.

At K 2016, the world’s largest plastics trade fair, Covestro held a first-ever theme day dedicated to current and outstanding results in polymer research: The Covestro Science Celebration. The company invited leading researchers to its stand for the event and handed out awards to several of them for their distinguished achievements.

Prof. Dr. André Bardow of RWTH Aachen University received the first Covestro Science Award, in the form of a three-year doctoral grant. Through this award, the company wants to honor researchers in the early stages of their career. In another first, four Covestro researchers were awarded the Covestro Science Medal: Drs. Andreas Seidel, Thomas Eckel and Sven Hobeika, as well as Ralf Hufen each received a medal and certificate for outstanding scientific developments.

Award-winning junior researchers
“Innovation and sustainability are the core elements of our corporate strategy and the basis of future growth,” said CEO Patrick Thomas. “We want our developments to benefit both society and the environment, and make the world a brighter place. We get help achieving these goals from our immense innovative force, which to a great extent is the result of intensive research, both inside and outside the organization. With the Covestro Science Award, we want to promote junior university scientists working in material research.”

Dr. Markus Steilemann, Member of the Board of Management responsible for innovation, added: “Developments that push boundaries require a broad understanding of innovation within the meaning of an open innovation approach. That’s why collaborations with customers, process chains, suppliers and especially universities is so important to us.” Last year, the company invested some EUR 260 million in research and development.

New awareness of eco-balances
André Bardow is Director of the Institute of Thermodynamics at RWTH Aachen University and Chair of Technical Thermodynamics. One of his main areas of research is evaluating the impact of products on the environment throughout their entire life cycle. “With his outstanding pioneering work in the field of life cycle assessment, particularly of CO2-based polymers, Prof. Bardow has redefined the state of the art,” said Thomas. “That impressed us very much, and we therefore would like to support your future work through this award.”

Every employee is an innovator
“In addition to collaborating with external partners, it is also important to strengthen our own innovation activities,” said Markus Steilemann at the award ceremony for the Covestro Science Medal. “By that I don’t mean only the 1,200 researchers and technicians at our company, but rather all employees. With fresh ideas, valuable contacts and targeted scouting, they also contribute to making the world a brighter place and pushing existing boundaries.” Steilemann added that he wants to build up a culture of innovation within the company.

Andreas Seidel, Thomas Eckel, Ralf Hufen and Sven Hobeika, the first winners of the Covestro Science Medal, succeeded in significantly improving the surfaces of components made of polycarbonate blends by specifically adjusting the phase morphology. Surface quality is an important criterion for creating value and promoting the market growth of polycarbonate blends.

Through their interdepartmental and interregional research over a period of five years, the researchers obtained a more in-depth understanding of structure/property relationships. They discovered in the process that a number of seemingly different surface and interface problems share a common cause. “The results open up new possibilities in product development and strengthen our competitiveness in our business with polycarbonate blends,” said Markus Steilemann in his laudatory speech. Their results are protected by a number of patent applications.

New ambassadors for research
Covestro also took advantage of its Science Celebration at K 2016 to introduce eight new Science Fellows. Their task is to represent and promote Research and Development in the global Covestro organization. They are mentors for research and technology. In developing the innovation strategy, they serve as advisers to the Covestro Board of Management. They also identify possibilities and opportunities for further expanding technology competence in everything from chemistry and material research, to applications, physics and process engineering.

The following were appointed as new Science Fellows:
• Rick Adkins, PhD (polyether process chain, Pittsburgh)
• Andreas Bulan (electrochemistry, Leverkusen)
• Dr. Dirk Dijkstra (material research and testing, Leverkusen)
• Ulrich Grosser (composites and polycarbonates, Leverkusen)
• Dr. Thomas König (polymer processing, Leverkusen)
• Dr. Robbie Lau (isocyanate processing, Baytown)
• David Steppan, PhD (simulation and computer-assisted chemistry, Pittsburgh)
• Dr. Chenxi Zhang (polyurethanes, Shanghai)

Visit us at the K 2016 plastics trade fair from October 19 to 26 in Düsseldorf, Germany, Hall 6, Stand A 75. Find more information at

About Covestro:
With 2015 sales of EUR 12.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites around the globe and employs approximately 15,800 people (full-time equivalents) as of the end of 2016.

Find more information at

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