Launch of Chemelot InSciTe: research and knowledge institute for biobased and biomedical materials

UM and Maastricht UMC+, TU/e, DSM, Chemelot Campus and the Province of Limburg invest €80 million in innovation institute.

As of today, the Netherlands has an international research and knowledge institute for bio-based and biomedical materials: Chemelot InSciTe (Institute for Science and Technology). As an international knowledge hub, Chemelot InSciTe provides a place for top scientists, businesses and government bodies to come together to make innovative new chemical building blocks from biomass and to develop, test and prepare new biomedical materials for introduction on the market. The parties involved have jointly invested €80 million in the institute, thereby stimulating both employment and the further development of knowledge and activity in the Limburg region and beyond.

Top scientists from Maastricht University (UM), Maastricht UMC+, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and experts from DSM and the Chemelot Campus are combining forces and using their joint knowledge and expertise to play their part in the responsible use of sustainable raw materials and in helping older people stay healthy in a cost-effective way. Partnerships between knowledge institutes and businesses in the Netherlands and worldwide are crucial to drive developments in both of these areas. For the bio-based market, Chemelot InSciTe will develop highquality biochemical building blocks which can be used, for example, in resins for cars, on solar cells, in buildings and in electronic equipment. For biomedical applications, the institute will be working on, among other things, materials for new blood vessels, materials by means of which cartilage can repair itself and regenerate in the body, and clever miniature ‘containers’ of medicines that are placed in the eye to prevent and treat eye infections.

Partnerships
Chemelot Campus’s position in Sittard-Geleen as a European springboard to the rest of the world attracts innovative companies and visionary investors, and functions as a hub for entrepreneurs and businesses which support each other’s growth. It also increases employment opportunities in the Limburg region. The three Founding Fathers, Eindhoven University of Technology, DSM, and Maastricht University together with Maastricht UMC+, have made an initial investment of €10 million each over the next six years. Via the Chemelot Campus, the Province of Limburg is investing €30 million into R&D activities and €20 million into research infrastructure and facilities for scaling-up production. The day-to-day management of the institute is in the hands of Managing Director Emiel Staring.

Atzo Nicolaï, President of DSM Nederland: “Chemelot InSciTe is an example of the business model of the future. By using the golden triangle of knowledge institutes, government and businesses in a smart way, we in the Netherlands can further build on our international top position in innovation, set a course for the future, create employment and opportunities and work toward making the economy more sustainable in all three dimensions: People, Planet and Profit.”

Prof. Hans van Duijn, Vice-Chancellor of Eindhoven University of Technology: “For the TU/e, Chemelot InSciTe is an important platform for initiating and expanding research activities in areas of innovation which are of great significance to the TU/e. The collaboration with industrial and academic partners like DSM and UM/MUMC+, the availability of the bio-based pilot plant and the presence of biomedical research facilities on the Chemelot Campus offer us excellent opportunities to further build on our leading position on a global scale. In addition, Chemelot InSciTe is perfectly suited to creating added economic value from research results.”

Guy Peeters, CEO of Maastricht UMC+: “Chemelot InSciTe enables Maastricht UMC+ to strengthen its position in the field of biomedical materials and regenerative medicine. This is crucial for our institute, because breakthroughs are expected in these domains in the next few years. Developing new materials calls for a combination of technical knowledge and skill, material sciences and an integral approach to sickness and health. Of course, Maastricht UMC+ cannot do this on its own. That is why we are so pleased to work together with the TU/e and DSM at Chemelot InSciTe. Thanks to this collaboration, the Maastricht UMC+ can anchor itself even more firmly in the southeastern region of the Netherlands.”

Prof. Martin Paul, chairman of the executive board of Maastricht University: “We are happy with the Provincial Council’s decision, which represents an important step forward. InSciTe is a magnificent initiative and we have a great deal of faith in it. The next step is to fine-tune a number of organizational, financial and legal points by discussing these with our University Council and Supervisory Board. At InSciTe, the partners bring together knowledge and experience in the field of biomedical and bio-based materials. This is extremely valuable to Maastricht University in our efforts to further develop the strategic aim of advancing the sciences. The collaboration with the TU/e and DSM, and the research and experimental opportunities available on the Chemelot Campus, offer the greatest added value. Working together with DSM and TU/e and integrating the research and demonstration facilities at Chemelot into study programs creates a hotspot for training a new generation of talented scientists and entrepreneurs.”

Bert Kip, CEO of Chemelot Campus: “Chemelot InSciTe is a crucial element in the process of making Chemelot Campus the number-one place in Europe for knowledge workers in the fields of bio-based materials and biomedical materials, two important focus areas for developing the campus. This development is based on, among other things, the presence of knowledge carriers, for example knowledge institutes. Chemelot InSciTe is a new knowledge institute which can achieve this goal. Chemelot Campus wants to accelerate its growth to encompass 2900 jobs and 1000 students in 2023 (these figures are currently at 1350 and 250). We also want a hundred companies to be established at the Campus by that time. Chemelot InSciTe greatly adds to the campus’s appeal and will therefore help realize this growth.”

Twan Beurskens, member of the Provincial Executive for Economy and Real Estate Department for the Province of Limburg: “I am very happy about the establishment of Chemelot InSciTe and I’m also proud of it. This scientific center with a large number of knowledge workers physically active in the region will play a pioneering role in the field of developing biomedical and bio-based materials. The core of our policy is to strengthen the regional economy by means of the ‘Knowledge Axis’. Our region plays a crucial role in this process within several top sectors and as part of the EU Horizon 2020 programs, and there is also a lot of common ground with our partners just across the border. In short, this is the start of a wonderful new development, and we as a province can also expect profits from marketing the products created by this institute.”

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