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RWTH Aachen and Maastricht University establish cooperation on Advanced Biobased Materials

Maastricht University and RWTH Aachen University intend to establish a European cross border research institute on advanced biobased materials. Situated at the Chemelot Chemical Innovation Community in the Province of Limburg, NL, partners strive for excellence in most modern biobased materials science. Researchers of international reputation will support the new cooperation between Maastricht University and RWTH Aachen University and companies at Chemelot. The Chemelot Campus focuses on "CHEMaterials" (Chemistry and Materials) and is developing into a unique open innovation campus in a triple helix cooperation of DSM, the Province of Limburg and Maastricht University.

With this initiative the Maastricht University advances its ambition to further develop research in natural sciences and technology in connection to the co-development of the Chemelot Campus and contributes to the international ambition of Brainport 2020. RWTH provides essential engineering expertise for this development. By establishing their joint cross border research institute at Chemelot, Maastricht University and RWTH Aachen University are aiming for a paradigm change in new materials, which will substitute traditional building blocks for polymer materials on a sustainable basis and support the development of novel materials.

The new research institute will focus on plant-based feedstock as the resource of future. The research is directed towards a biobased polymer materials technology, on one hand driven by the limited availability of fossil feedstock and the concerns of climate change by the use of consumptive technologies, on the other hand intended to capitalize on new prospects to obtain complex and valuable building blocks and polymers directly from plants.

The location at the Chemelot Campus will enable close collaboration with existing industries and will allow the formation of new public-private networks with SMEs and future start-ups. This way transfer from the lab bench to process engineering and innovation will be promoted and accelerated.

The partners will contribute to the project with their individual strengths and capabilities, mainly the molecular biology, plant biotechnology, molecular and process engineering sciences and medical technology in Aachen and the biology, computational sciences, biomaterials science and clinical expertise of Maastricht.

Key research ambitions will be (i) the use of natural plants as production plants for advanced biobased building blocks and macromolecules, (ii) chemical transformation of such building blocks for higher functionality, (iii) processing and compounding of biobased building blocks and polymers into application driven materials and (iv) development of biobased, bioactive materials for clinical use, including applications in regenerative medicine.

This cooperation of excellence between Maastricht and Aachen will establish teams of young and ambitious scientists who will work under the lead of three professors at Chemelot. Selections for human resources will start early 2012 and start of activities at Chemelot is proposed for mid-2012. The researchers will have lab facilities and office space at Chemelot, as well as access rights to all facilities in both universities. The start-up funding for the excellence initiative is committed by Aachen and Maastricht.

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idw :: 23.12.2011