The Top Team consists of the chairs of ChemistryNL. They represent the large business community, knowledge institutions, SMEs and the government. The four members of the Top Team are: Jacqueline Vaessen, Tom van Aken, Bert Weckhuysen and David Pappie. The Board of Directors of ChemistryNL consists of the members of the Top Team, without David Pappie. In addition, the Top Team has a secretariat.
Jacqueline Vaessen studied chemical technology and started her working life as a technologist at Shell in Moerdijk. In 1996 she switched to Syntens, the then innovation instrument of Economic Affairs. She started her own company in 2004 and was active for many years in the promotion of technology and improvements in vocational education. She was also associated with an engineering firm for a number of years that focused on making industry more sustainable. In 2015 she became a member of the Provincial Council in Utrecht as spokesperson for energy and economy. In 2018 she started in her current position as general manager of Nexstep. Within Nexstep, she and TNO took the initiative for the first offshore hydrogen production on an existing platform. She and her team also prepared a first tender in which six operators will jointly dismantle wells, a worldwide first.
Check out the introduction interview with Jacqueline Vaessen in Change Inc. magazine (12.2021).
Tom van Aken
Tom van Aken is CEO at Avantium and member of the Management Board. Avantium is a pioneer in the emerging industry of renewable and sustainable chemistry. Based on his experiences and network, he represents SMEs within the top team.
Tom van Aken 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.
Bert Weckhuysen is faculty professor of Science at the University of Utrecht and specializes in the domain of heterogeneous catalysis. He works with his research group to fundamentally understand the operation and wear of catalyst materials. For this he uses spectroscopic and microscopic techniques.
With this knowledge he tries to develop new or improved catalysts for making fuels, chemical building blocks and materials from oil, natural gas, biomass and sunlight. His research work has won many prestigious prizes, including the Royal Dutch Chemical Association’s Gold Medal, Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis from the North American Catalysis Society, the International Catalysis Award from the International Association of Catalysis Societies, the Bourke Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Spinoza Premium from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.
He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences.
David Pappie is Director of Top Sectors and Industrial Policy at the Directorate-General for Business and Innovation (DG B & I) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. DG B & I is responsible for generic entrepreneurship policy, the top sector approach, contacts with the business community, the knowledge and innovation policy, ICT and regulatory pressure and policy for the biobased economy.
David Pappie studied Pharmaceutical Chemistry at VU University Amsterdam and previously worked at Shell.
The secretariat of the Top Team consists of the following persons:
- Vera Meester (TKI Chemie)
- Marijn Goes (NWO)
- Luc Kikkert (TNO)
- Lara Engelfriet (EZK)
- Mark Schmets (EZK)