As of January 1, 2020, Tom van Aken has been appointed by SME Secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs and Climate) as SME representative of the Top Sector Chemistry. He takes over from Bert Jan Lommerts, who has filled the position since 2014. Together with Emmo Meijer (figure head Top Sector Chemistry), David Pappie (EZK) and Bert Weckhuysen (representative science), Tom van Aken forms the Topteam of the Top Sector Chemistry.
Green and recyclable plastics
Tom van Aken (49) started his career at DSM within the fine chemicals division, both in the Netherlands and in the United States. In 2002 he made the switch to Amsterdam-based start-up Avantium, a sustainable chemical company that makes green, recyclable plastics with the help of plant-based substances, such as industrial sugars, using self-developed technology. Van Aken was initially responsible for business development and was appointed CEO of Avantium in 2005. Under his leadership, the company was transformed into a technology company that focuses on renewable chemical products and materials. Avantium has laboratories in Amsterdam, a first factory in Delfzijl and a pilot plant in Geleen with the ambition to produce new, biobased products and processes on a commercial scale. “The chemical industry faces enormous challenges. At the same time, chemistry also offers the solutions to enable the transformation to a sustainable and circular economy. I look forward to stimulating good cooperation between science, industry and government through the top team Chemistry. Where development and upscaling of new solutions are possible and new companies are also given the opportunity to bring sustainable products to the market, “says Tom van Aken.
Chemistry makes the difference
At the same time, this means that we are saying goodbye to Bert Jan Lommerts, as an SME representative. An enthusiastic entrepreneur and a great representative of SMEs. Someone who through his personality and commitment has been of great importance for the position of SMEs specifically within the Top Sector Chemistry and generally within the Top Sector Policy. Because of its tenacity and creativity, the review of the top sector Chemistry was made on the basis of the “Chemistry makes the difference” plan. He also took the initiative for the successful GoChem SME programme, which offers entrepreneurs and scientists a stepping stone to work together on practical solutions for a sustainable society.
Top sector Chemistry
There is a global need for clean energy, healthy food, affordable care and dry feet. The Netherlands is strong in finding solutions to these kinds of challenges. This offers our country global opportunities for growth. To come up with the best possible solutions, companies, researchers, governments and social parties work closely together in nine Top Sectors, including the Top Sector Chemistry.
Within the top sector Chemistry, parties work on the basis of their talent, knowledge and expertise towards a common goal: strong innovation with highly trained people. The top sector approach is typically Dutch; open, integral, inventive and focused on the future. In this way we build on our strong competitive position in the world.