Thursday, 13 August 2015

SusChem introduces: Flavio Benedito

Cefic Research and Innovation has recently recruited two new Innovation Managers who will be heavily involved with SusChem activities over the next few years. Flavio Luiz Benedito and Martin Winter both started their secondment to Cefic in June and many members of the SusChem community will have met them at the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event. In this and a subsequent article we introduce both managers and ask them about what they are expecting to achieve for Sustainable Chemistry in Europe during their time with the platform. 

In this article we talk to Flavio. You can find the interview article with Martin here.

Career highlights
Flavio got his bachelors degree in Chemistry in Brazil and moved to Germany in 2003 to finish his Masters degree at Bayer. There he had the opportunity to be involved in the research and development of new fungicides.

Following this he was awarded a full scholarship to do a PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry. His fascination for interdisciplinary research continued in 2009 when he joined the group of Prof. Ferdi Schueth as a post-doc fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research working in the field of nanomaterials and solid state Chemistry.

Seeking broader international experience he moved to Austria in 2010 to work as a research scientist in the field of natural product synthesis at the Innsbruck University. To combine and apply all this acquired know-how, he returned to Germany in 2011 and joined BASF in the Organic Electronics project cluster developing research in organic photovoltaics, OLEDs, as well as other upcoming technologies. This background in very innovative and sustainability-focused topics helped him to join the Cefic Research and Innovation team on secondment from BASF in June 2015.    

In his spare time Flavio likes sports, travels, plays the piano and helps to organize and play in benefit concerts.

What is your view on Sustainable Chemistry?
Sustainable Chemistry enables a better use of natural resources applied to fulfil societal needs for chemicals and services. One of the main key points of Sustainable Chemistry is to enable the development of safe, effective, and eco-efficient chemical processes that have benign environmental impact. 

But in my opinion Sustainable Chemistry goes far beyond this; it stimulates innovative research, opens several opportunities for new value chains favouring economic growth, boosts the chemical sector as a whole, generates new jobs, and is able to offer a better life quality for society.   

How do you see your new role contributing to your view on Sustainable Chemistry? 
The role of a Research & Innovation Manager is to find synergistic pathways that both industry and government can align their interests in order to address societal needs. One good example is the coordination of PPPs (Public-Private-Partnerships) that combines public funding and industrial initiatives to promote projects for the development of new innovative and sustainable technologies and processes. 

What challenges do you foresee? 
Nowadays the majority of chemical production relies on oil and the migration to a more biobased production is seen as an evolution and not a revolution. A significant change in the mind-set is needed. To influence and promote this change, intermediate governmental interests and industry willingness towards sustainability are some of the greatest challenges I foresee.   

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your three years at Cefic? 
After three years at Cefic I hope to have generated solid results, contributed and participated in several projects, helped the chemical industry in representing their interests, expanded my network and enjoyed a great time and experiences with my wonderful colleagues in the team.

What areas are you looking to collaborate with others and how do you prefer to be contacted? 
In the beginning I will mainly be involved in bioeconomy and rare raw materials projects, but I will also have the chance to work on other topics in the future. If you want to contact me please e-mail me directly.

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