Interviews' Corner!

We'd like you to get a glimpse into our partners's daily work life to get to know them better.







ECN, NL. - Arend de Groot - Senior Researcher Process Intensification & Coordinator of CARENA new.png

As a coordinator you have the last word. How do you look back on the CARENA project?

"We have been lucky to work with a wonderful team. First of all the work package leaders, which have organized their part of the work very well. And all the partners in general, which have shown great willingness to adapt their work to the needs of the project. This is always a challenge in European projects, where you have to plan ahead for 4 years. Or even 5 years if you take into account the proposal phase. Often this leads to conflicts of interest when the resources and people committed originally to the project do not match the needs of the project. Therefore it is a good sign if you see that partners agree on new roles and activities during the project to address the most urgent challenges. In the CARENA project I have seen many times this flexibility of the partners to deviate from the original plan if necessary. I think this characterizes a good project. The cooperation between the different nationalities is what I enjoyed above all! In the CARENA project about 30% of the people working in the project live abroad. Working outside of your own country broadens your perspectives. I think one of the important benefits of the EU projects lies in the opportunity given to widen your horizons of working in such project. On a personal level and also professionally".

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Saint Gobain, FR. - Caroline Tardivat - Head of CNRS-Saint Gobain Research Unitnew.png

CARENA brings together Research labs and industry. How do you view research-industry collaboration within the framework of the project?

"The CARENA consortium is built in a very complementary way : each partner brings in a specific skill, specific experience. We experience very fruitful interactions with our partners, in the framework of this project. The involvement of industrial end-users with experience in the field and in competitive technologies is also a clear advantage". “Multidisciplinary approach is probably a very strong factor of success for the project”  

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University of Salerno. - Paolo Ciambelli -  Professornew.png

The CARENA project has been designed with a strong emphasis on multidisciplinary approach. What progress can be expected if chemists work in closer relation with other disciplines?

"I strongly believe in multidisciplinary approach, also due to my 20-year experience as professor of chemical engineer in a Chemistry Department, Faculty of Sciences. I headed during 5 years NANO_MATES, an interdepartmental research centre on nanomaterials and nanotechnology at the University of Salerno, gathering colleagues from 8 departments. Competitive research today is obliged to have a multidisciplinary approach." 

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Linde. Ge. -Marianne Ponceau - Chemical Engineer at the Engineering Divisionnew.png

Sustainable development and environment issues are key concerns nowadays. How does membrane chemistry fit in the pattern? Would you say chemistry is going through major changes?  

"Sustainability is indeed a key factor nowadays. Membrane chemistry is a very interesting field that allows higher selectivity and hence higher efficiency, due to the targeted substrate delivery or product removal. Research in this field has the potential to improve existing technologies or to find more efficient alternatives in the future."

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EMH. Be. - Gilbert Rios - Executive Director of EMHnew.png

What is the added-value of an EU project such as CARENA compared with other partnerships on the same topic you may be involved in?

"A good access to a large funding and a broad network …  "

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                                  elizabeth-shotton.jpg     Diamond. UK. - Elizabeth Shotton - Head of Industrial Liaison

The CARENA project has been designed with a strong emphasis on multidisciplinary approach. What progress can be expected if chemists work in closer relation with other disciplines?

"The synchrotron environment is a multidisciplinary one and we see daily advantages by working with colleagues from other backgrounds. Here chemists, physicists, metallurgists, biologists, earth scientists, archaeologists to name but a few work together regularly. By bringing a range of experiences to bear on a scientific problem, creative solutions can often be found and new advances made. "

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 PDC. The Netherlands. - Hank Vleeming - Chief Technology Officer.

"Last but not least, let’s zoom out on broader themes. Sustainable development and environment issues are key concerns nowadays. How does membrane chemistry fit in the pattern? Would you say chemistry is going through major changes?

The idea behind combining membranes with reactors is that it intensifies the chemistry by improving the reaction performance, such as a shift in equilibrium. Often it becomes feasible to work at lower temperatures, which leads to energy savings. Also, it may enable to use different feedstock. This makes the process more sustainable and environmentally friendly. In CARENA one of the objectives is shifting to cheaper and more abundantly available raw materials. At PDC we clearly notice a change in our process design work over the past ten years towards bio-based chemistry."  

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  Twente University. The Netherlands. - Nieck Benes  - Adjunct Professor

"The CARENA project has been designed with a strong emphasis on multidisciplinary approach. What progress can be expected if chemists work in closer relation with other disciplines?

The cliché is that progress can be found at the frontiers between disciplines. Many clichés hold some truth.

My educational background is Process Technology, or more precisely Reactor Technology.(...) The broad scope of this background helps me to find collaborators from different fields and to discuss with them their view on the problems our group is working on. Such multi-disciplinary discussions facilitate the birth of solutions that one would never come up with when one is confined to a single discipline, or to assess the value of your own work in a realistic context."  

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                                thijs-peters.jpg        SINTEF. Norway. - Thijs Peters - Senior Researcher.

"You were a member of the organizing committee of the join Reforcell, DEMCAMER, Comethy and CARENA workshop on Pd Membrane (20-21 November 2014, Petten, The Netherlands). Could you tell us your feeling, feedback… ?

The workshop will take place in three weeks' time, and we are now working hard to finalize the program, arrange all practicalities around lunches and transport. The interactive discussion also needs to be set up. To my belief, we have managed to put together a very good scientific program with contributions from all over the world showing the large efforts and interest that currently is being laid in the Pd membrane technology. With the current status of registrations, around 70 participants from industry, research institutes and universities, I am sure of that the workshop is going to be large unique knowledge-sharing success."

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 Technion. Israel  - Moshe Sheintuch- Professor 

"What do you think is the most satisfying part of this project?"

The various perspectives on the problem introduced by the partners lead to the definitions of new research questions: Can you use reaction rate expression based on kinetic data from a regular reactor for designing MR, which operates in sub-stoichiometric hydrogen concentration? If not, how do you derive, experimentally or theoretically, such a rate expression or a model? We took initial steps to build a microkinetic model. How can you define the state of the membrane, in order to predict its permeance? Helpful parameters are hydrogen, CO and propylene adsorption, Pd/Ag surface composition. We hope to use TPD to answer such questions...

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  Leibniz University of Hannover. Germany  - Jürgen Caro- Professor 


"You have obtained together with Prof. Michael Tsapatsis from the University of Minnesota, USA the Breck Award of the International Zeolite Association on the Moscow International Zeolite Conference in July 2013 for your pioneering work on novel molecular sieve membranes. Congratulations ! Could you give us more details, your feelings?

It is as always a mixed feeling. It is of course a great honor to have got this prestigious Breck Award together with M. Tsapatsis for the most important research on nanoporous materials during the last 3 years. And I have to note that also a great deal of CARENA research has contributed to the results. But there are also other scientists with outstanding results which would have deserved the Breck Award: Yaghi, Kitagawa or Ferey with metal-organic frameworks e.g. When you get such award, your inner voice asks the question: Are you at the end of your scientific career, so that people give you an award for your “life performance” as a good-by present from active research? I hope not, I am healthy and ambitious, I regard the Breck Award as a catalyst for new activities. By, the way, in addition to the Breck Award, I have got in 2013 the Ostwald Medal .         

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KT – Kinetics Technology SpA,   Italy - Emma Palo- Technology Project



"What are the benefits of participating in EU research projects?

As industrial partners working on R&D, our activity could not be separated by University research work. In a lot of novel process, such as propylene production assisted by membrane, we need the information coming from the people more directly involved in lab research to make our process scheme more and more attractive and close for implementation..."        

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ECN-  The Netherlands - Frans Van Berkel - Project Leader


"You were a member of the organizing committee of the joint Cachet II, Comethy and CARENA workshop on Pd Membrane (12-14 November 2012, Rome, Italy). Could you tell us your feeling, feedback.. ?

Having only being active within the Pd-membrane technology field since 2010, I found it interesting to get the chance to be informed on the overall status of the many different aspects of the Pd-membrane technology as presented by the experts in the field. This broad overview really helps to get...."    

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AkzoNobel-  The Netherlands - Gerhard REMMERS - Innovation Technologist

" What is the added-value of an EU project such as CARENA compared with other partnerships on the same topic you may be involved in?

The added value of the EU project CARENA is shared knowledge and interest in the topics we are working on with known European institutes and companies in this area in order to move on faster."

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Johnson Matthey - UK - Andy SMITH-   Principal Scientist

"The CARENA project has been designed with a strong emphasis on multi or crossdisciplinarity. What progress can be expected if chemists work in closer relation with other disciplines?

The continued development of new products and access to new markets requires us to collaborate with both leading participants in these markets and with academic researchers who have an understanding of the latest developments. To support this, Johnson Matthey participates in a diverse range of R&D programmes. One of the attractions of a project such as CARENA is the large number of partners, each bringing their own skills and core competences to the project.(...)."

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CNRS - IEM - France - Anne JULBE-   Researcher

"You’re a head research scientist with more than 20 years’ research experience. How would you define your job as a researcher?

I would like to answer you with the idealized vision I had of what it was like to work as a researcher back in 1989 when I entered CNRS. Working as a researcher was a wonderful way of associating creativity and innovation either for fundamental research and/or to develop industrial applications and solve problems related to everyday life. It was also a great human experience for me (...)."

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CNRS - IRCELYON-  France - David FARRUSSENG - Researcher

" What made you opt for a career as a researcher? How would you define your  job?

The freedom required for innovation has certainly been a strong incentive. To give you an idea of my  job, I’ll choose the word “exciting”: it is indeed so exciting to see your ideas come true in a concrete and pragmatic “It’s working!” way."

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Early Stage Researchers & Experienced Researchers                                                                                               




  Twente University- The Netherlands- Michiel Raaijmaker- ESRnew.png

  "What is the best thing about taking a PhD? How challenging is it?

Doing a PhD allows you to create completely new concepts. This involves devising creative new ideas and smart collaborations with colleagues in different institutions. By gaining new insights, you are constantly required to adjust the direction of your research. Maintaining control over the evolution of your project is maybe the most challenging, but this also makes it rewarding. " 

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martin drobek.jpg

new.pngCNRS-IEM- Montpellier, France - Martin Drobek- ER

"What is appealing to you being a researcher? How would you define your job?

Being a researcher is a huge passion for me. Already at high school I was dreaming about this job I found very challenging and exciting. The work of researcher is never a routine. In fact, it is a never-ending story of searching new ideas, innovations and projects which brings you to new findings and challenges pushing you further in your scientific research. It depends on you if your ideas become reality, and if successful, the personal satisfaction is priceless.(...) My involvement in CARENA project represents a very important milestone in my scientific carrier.”

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  CNRS - IRCELyon - France -  Shiwen LI- ESR



"What are your plans after completing the PhD? What did you learn your participation to national/international events during your PhD?

Thanks to the CARENA project and my supervisor, I have been provided several chances to participate the conferences. My capacity of presenting our work publicly is improved...

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  Leibniz University of Hannover. Germany - Nanyi WANG- ESR



 "What are your plans after completing the PhD?

So far I have decided to try to find a job in a company in Germany, to see if my research capacity can make contribution to industry....

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CNRS - IRCELyon - France -Marie ROCHOUX- ESR



  "Do you have some advice to master/engineer students considering taking a PhD?"

To do a PhD in a European project such as CARENA project, is a very good way to improve the scientific oral presentation skills and to understand the differences and challenging issues between the academic and the industrial sectors. I think it is very important to do regular reports during a PhD for two main reasons....
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CNRS - IEM - France- Hugues BLASCO- ER



 "Do you have some advice to PhD Student considering taking a Post Doc?"

It's the best chance of getting a job in a field that you are passionate about, so make sure you to do what you do want to do. Keep in mind that you have to be flexible, you need to.....
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University of Salerno - Italy - Antonio RICCA- ESR

"What is the topic of your PhD and can you tell us about the objectives you have to reach?

My PhD activity deals with the study of structured catalysts for dehydrogenation and reforming reactions. The main purpose of the study is to find the process intensification achieved by the use of this catalysts typology in such reactions, especially toward catalytic membrane reactors."
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"Welcome in the CARENA project Claudia. Where do you come from and what has your training been so far?

I come from Castellón de la Plana, a small town near Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast. There’s sunshine almost all year round and the beach is part of our everyday life.
I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Jaume I in Castellon, where I specialized in ceramic engineering."

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