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Prof. Dr. Bernd Nowack

Empa, Switzerland

Micro- and nanoplastics: sources and release

Bernd Nowack holds a MSc. (1992) and a PhD (1995) in environmental sciences from ETH Zürich. After research stays at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, Eawag in Dübendorf, Switzerland, and ETH Zürich, he is leading since 2007 the "Environmental Risk Assessment and Management" group at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. He is also adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zürich.

His research deals with the environmental risks of engineered nanomaterials, nanobiomaterials, plastics and nano/microplastics, comprising a wide spectrum of different approaches: development and application of methods for material flow modeling, exposure modeling, biouptake modeling and environmental risk assessment; experimental studies about release of materials from products and development of methods for safe and sustainable by design (SSbD).

Bernd Nowack has published more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and has an h-factor of 71. He acted as co-advisor of 26 PhD projects and is founding co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal NanoImpact. He has been listed since 2014 eight times so far as “Highly Cited Researcher” in the category “Environmental Sciences/Ecology” from Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science).


Prof. Dr. Kim Ragaert

Maastricht University, The Netherlands

The complexity of redesigning the plastics system for circularity

Kim Ragaert is full professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), holding the key domain chair of Circular Plastics within the department Circular Chemical Engineering (CCE). She obtained her PhD in polymer processing at Ghent University in 2011 and focused her research on mechanical recycling of plastics soon after. Prior to accepting her current position at Maastricht University, she was associate professor at Ghent University and chair of the Plastics to Resource pipeline within CAPTURE.

Her lab and research group are on the Chemelot industrial site in Geleen. The Circular Plastics team focuses on structure-property-processing relationships in thermoplastics and translates these fundamentals to methods for increased quality and quantity in mechanical recycling of plastics. Committed also to educating the next generation of circular professionals, she is the Chair of the educational program committee of the BSc Circular Engineering at FSE.

Kim is a strong believer in value-chain cooperation and interdisciplinary research. She consults for organizations like Plastics Europe, Plastics Recyclers Europe, CEFLEX and ECOS, and works closely with industrial partners. Kim was the 2020 European Plastics Recycling Ambassador.


Prof. Dr. Jan Vermant

ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Efficient processing of  high interfacial area soft materials using advective processing

Jan Vermant studied Chemical Engineering at KU Leuven in Belgium, obtaining the doctoral degree in 1996 under the supervision of Prof. Jan Mewis. He was a postdoctoral fellow of Elf Aquitaine (at Stanford University and the CNRS) and the Fund for Scientific Research – Vlaanderen. In 2000 he joined the faculty at the department of Chemical Engineering at KU Leuven, becoming professor in 2005. In 2014 he joined the Materials Department at the ETH Zürich where he now heads the laboratory of Soft Materials. He has held visiting appointments at Stanford University (USA), University of Delaware (USA), Princeton University (USA), the Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany) and the ESPCI (France). His research at the ETH Zürich focuses on the rheology and applications of complex fluid-fluid interfaces, colloidal suspensions and the development of novel experimental methods and soft matter applications in materials science.

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