DSM honours Professor Marc Hillmyer with the 2020 Bright Science Award in materials sciences

Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, today announces that it has awarded Professor Marc Hillmyer, from the Chemistry Department at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, with the 2020 Bright Science Award in materials sciences. The jury selected Professor Hillmyer because of the scientific breadth and depth of his work and its relevance to the advancement of bio-based and circular materials.

Professor Marc Hillmyer, from the Chemistry Department at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities,

Over the past few decades, linear economic consumption of material resources has left the world facing a series of defining, complex and interdependent environmental challenges. It’s this concerning landscape that underpins the Bright Science Award in materials sciences. This award is for scientists who have made major contributions to fundamental or applied research in the field of sustainable materials and whose work is instrumental in helping businesses involved in materials industries adopt more sustainable strategic directions.

Professor Hillmyer’s scientific work, which combines deep knowledge of polymer synthesis and polymer properties, contributes to the development of recyclable and bio-based performance polymers. Hillmyer’s scientific breakthroughs also include controlled nano-porosity in materials made from sacrificial block copolymers as well as the hierarchical self-assembly of multifunctional block copolymers into, for example, multicompartment micelles with three distinct phylicities as used in nanolithography. Such breakthroughs, often achieved in collaboration with industrial advisors, are crucial for the transformation toward a bio-based and circular economy.

The 2020 Bright Science Award in materials sciences was organized by DSM in partnership with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the world authority on chemical nomenclature and terminology. An international jury including members from DSM, DSM’s Scientific Advisory Board, IUPAC, and a previous prize winner selected Professor Hillmyer from this year’s eight nominees. The jury praised Professor Hillmyer’s sustainability leadership and contributions to the wider scientific community including his work with the American Chemical Society (ACS), student outreach at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, his position as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers, and his work as Editor-in-Chief of Macromolecules, a journal published by ACS.

“I am thrilled and honoured to receive the DSM Bright Science Award. I appreciate DSM’s commitment to solving the world’s most pressing societal issues as many of these issues relate to sustainable materials science, and I am very grateful that our work in the area has been recognized in this way,” said Professor Hillmyer.

Dr. Marcus Remmers, Chief Technology Officer of DSM, commented: ‘’As a science-based company, with a purpose-led strategy, we believe it’s our responsibility to recognize and reward extraordinary scientists who dedicate their lives making our world a better place. One such extraordinary scientists is Professor Hillmyer, whose pioneering research in materials science is pivotal for the development of products and applications that help society transition towards a bio-based economy based on preserving natural resources and stimulating greater circularity. At DSM, we take this pretty seriously ourselves. Take DSM Engineering Plastics, which In 2019 announced that its entire business will offer a full alternative range of its existing portfolio based on bio- and/or recycled-based materials by 2030. Businesses involved in the materials industries would not be able to successfully make such a transition without the important work done by scientists like Professor Hillmyer’’.

The award ceremony will be at the IUPAC-MACRO conference on 5-9 July 2020 in JeJu Island, South Korea. During a DSM Award symposium, Professor Hillmyer will deliver an acceptance speech followed by lectures from renowned scientists in the field of Macromolecular Sciences.

The DSM Bright Science Awards Program includes yearly awards for PhD graduates as well as awards for experienced scientists such as Professor Hillmyer. Every even year, the award for experienced scientists is related to materials sciences. In odd years, its related to life sciences. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of EUR 25000 – which should be allocated to the award winners’ research group to ensure that we all continue to benefit from bright science.

Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM addresses with its products and solutions some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. DSM delivers innovative solutions for human nutrition, animal nutrition, personal care and aroma, medical devices, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about EUR 10 billion with approximately 23000 employees. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam.

Aurora Specialty Textiles Group wins award for operational excellence

Aurora Specialty Textiles Group has won yet another award for outstanding business practices. This one is for Operational Excellence and is from the Valley Industrial Association (VIA), which represents the manufacturing industry in the Fox Valley region of Illinois, a large industrial area near Chicago and one of the larger manufacturing regions in the US Midwest.

The VIA’s Excellence in Operations Award recognizes leadership in operational strategic planning and implementation.

The announcement that Aurora won this award was made March 11 at the annual VIA Spark Award Benchmarking for Excellence dinner.  Awards were given out for Culture, Innovation, Operational Excellence, Safety, Social Responsibility and Workforce  Development.

Aurora was a finalist for two of the Spark Award categories – Social Responsibility and Operational Excellence. The awards process included a detailed submission and a lengthy interview that emphasized Aurora’s continuous operational improvements. This includes utilization of Kaizen Events and Green Belt projects, two of the key performance indicators used to measure operations effectiveness, as well as cross-training, on-board training for operators and benchmarking with other plants.

“It was an honour to be nominated as a finalist in two categories from the VIA Spark Award committee, which recognized us for Social Responsibility and Operational Excellence,” said Marcia Ayala, president of Aurora. “And to have won for Operational Excellence means so much.

“In 2015, we moved our operations from a 132 year-old plant in Aurora, Illinois, to our new facility in Yorkville and it was a challenge,” she added. “Many improvements and adjustments had to be made in all aspects of our operations and moving took extensive cooperation, patience and know-how from our employees and management to make it successful. I’m always proud to give a tour of our new plant in Yorkville and show the facility to customers and partners. I’m equally proud to have our team and organization recognized for Operational Excellence.”

In 2019 Aurora was recognized by the Sign Graphics Industry Association (SGIA) with their Sustainable Business Recognition award for excellence in implementing sustainability practices throughout their Yorkville plant.  In 2019, Aurora was also recognized for its sustainability programs by the Yorkville  Chamber of Commerce, which designated Aurora as a Green Connect business.  In February of this year (2020), Aurora was the recipient of the Yorkville Chamber of Commerce annual Green Business of the Year award. The recent award from the VIA is the third for Aurora in less than a year.

Kathy Gilmore, president of the VIA, explained why Aurora was selected for the Spark Award for Operational Excellence.

“This year the interviewers were looking for companies that have a systems approach to the best practices in the categories of the Spark Awards,” said Gilmore. “The thinking is that having the right operation systems and disciplines in place is what helps take a company from good to great. And even though Aurora Specialty Textiles isn’t a large company with resources to easily implement these systems, they have made it a priority and invested the time and resources into this. They are an impressive group.”

Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc. is a global leader in coating, dyeing and finishing of both woven and non-woven fabrics. Based in Yorkville, Illinois, USA, the company has a 137-year tradition of innovation and in 2015 invested in a new state-of-the-art, wide-width coating and finishing line, and a new facility, that dramatically expanded their ability to serve customers. Products include digitally-printable textiles, specialty home products, tape-backing products and technical textiles for a wide variety of industries. Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc., is a Meridian Industries, Inc. company and ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.  Aurora is also an industry leader with regard to sustainable manufacturing practices and a recipient of SGIA’s Sustainable Business Recognition Award in 2019.