Global specialty chemicals supplier Cognis, based in Monheim, Germany, is endowing a Chair of Communications and Management of Chemical Processes in Industry at the University of Wuppertal. The endowment is intended to promote teaching, research and development activities relating to sustainable chemistry, and to strengthen the company’s ties with the university. Cognis will fund the post for three years, after which time the costs will be borne by the university.
The Cognis professorship is dedicated to interdisciplinary research and development activities in the area of sustainable chemistry. In particular, the research will focus on how the efficient management of chemical processes can optimize resource and energy utilization. The University of Wuppertal will develop basic concepts for new products and production processes, criteria for evaluating products and processes for performance, environmental compatibility and sustainability, and ways of communicating these benefits. It is envisaged that the research will involve interdisciplinary collaboration, combining scientific, economic and engineering-related aspects.
“Sustainability is an integral part of Cognis’ business strategy, and one of the keys to our financial success,” says Hans-Helmut Heymann of the Cognis Management Board. “Research, development and encouraging the development of young talent in this area is therefore something very close to our hearts. This is why we have decided to further strengthen our relationship with the University of Wuppertal by endowing this professorship, so laying the foundations for further research into sustainable chemistry. We will of course also continue to offer undergraduate and graduate students from the university the opportunity to carry out project work in our company.”
Comments Professor Peter Wiesen, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences: “Ever since the University of Wuppertal was founded, it has pursued an interdisciplinary science and engineering-based approach to research and teaching in the area of the chemistry of renewable resources, integrated environmental protection, and the behavior of substances in the natural environment.” The new Chair of Communications and Management of Chemical Processes in Industry will make the university’s work in the area of sustainable chemistry more systematic, and give students in the North Rhine-Westphalia region access to a unique educational offering.
Today, Cognis officially signed the agreement for the sustainability-related professorship: chemists from Wuppertal Professor Thorsten Benter and Professor Oliver Schmitz, rector Professor Lambert T. Koch, Dr. Hans-Helmut Heymann of the Cognis Management Board, chancellor Hans-Joachim von Buchka and Professor Peter Wiesen, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences
Cognis is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients, with a particular focus on the areas of wellness and sustainability. The company employs about 5,900 people, and it operates production sites and service centers in 30 countries. Cognis has dedicated its activities to a high level of sustainability and delivers natural source raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. Another main focus is on products for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, as well as agriculture and mining.
Cognis is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences. In 2008, Cognis recorded sales of about 3 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (operating result) of 351 million euros.