“Putting our amazing knowledge of polymeric materials to use to tackle the major societal issues in the climate field is what drives me. This conference can play an important role in these efforts.”
In his day-to-day life, Marnix van Gurp is the director of the Brightlands Materials Center, but is currently also the Chair of the Brightlands Polymer Days, which will be held from November 7 to 9 in Veldhoven. Marnix has already been involved for years in one of the forerunners of this event, the Brightlands Rolduc Polymer Conference, and is enthusiastic about the event set-up: “It is an informal conference offering industry and academia the opportunity to meet and for students, it’s an accessible way to interact with professors. Talented people engaging in discussion with the world’s greats in the field; what could be more amazing than that?”
So does the Brightlands Polymer Days represent a merger?
“Yes, the event is a merger of originally separate conferences on polymers. This is also an effect of Corona: the organizers of the individual conferences kept having to postpone them and then ended up at cross-purposes with each other in terms of scheduling, which actually brought the organizers closer together. The new event has been organized by various parties: the Belgian Polymer Group, KNCV Macromolecular Division, Polymer Technology Netherlands (PTN), the Dutch Polymer Days and the Brightlands Rolduc Polymer Conference.”
“The great common denominator is of course polymeric materials, and this conference is no exception. This region naturally has a great deal of knowledge of this field, but there is often still a gap between scientific knowledge and practical applications in industry. We want to bridge that gap. Although universities do wonderful fundamental research, it would be great if industry would be able to use this to better achieve their sustainable ambitions.”
Is it difficult to bring science and industry closer together?
“In the past, we were regularly told how inspiring our meetings were, bringing together university groups and representatives from industry. There was a lot of appreciation from both parties, but particularly from industry. This is naturally the party that needs to change how plastics are used in society, such as when it comes to circularity and the energy transition.”
“There is enough scientific knowledge, but you need to harness it for society and help industry do this. This is why we don’t just give academic speakers the chance to give presentations, but also representatives from industry. And they cover the themes in detail; they’re not giving sales pitches. Scientists are often more engaged in the fundamentals of their research, but can also have great creative ideas. We invite people from industry to come and listen to these presentations.”
“I have been the director of Brightlands Materials Center for six years now, so I have become very familiar with both the science as well as the industrial applications. I understand what universities can do and what industry needs, so in that sense it’s not strange that I am chairing this conference. I would have wanted to be involved anyway; the theme is so fascinating: making better use of polymeric materials for a sustainable future. The polymer world will be getting inspired once again on November 7 – 9!”