Name: Prof. Dr. Yvonne van der Meer
Organization: Maastricht University
Scientific Co-Director of the Aachen-Maastricht-Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM), Project Owner Sustainable Research of the Taskforce Sustainable UM2030, Chair Sustainability of Chemicals and Materials
Areas of Expertise:
Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment, Prospective and Ex-ante Technology Assessment, Circular Economy, Biobased Economy
Why is Biobased ValueCircle an interesting project for you?
Biobased Value Circle offers a great opportunity to accelerate the transition from a fossil-based and linear to a biobased and circular economy. This transition is driven by sustainability goals, as pressing sustainability issues require rapid progress to improve sustainability. The mission of my research team is to provide appropriate tools and assessments to monitor progress in achieving sustainability goals, such as reducing the impact of climate change, sustainable biomass sourcing, and addressing plastic pollution. Furthermore, the project consortium provides unique collaborative opportunities for research on sustainability assessment of circular bio-based materials (ESA 10) and developing a common language for bio-based value circles (ESR 11). The close collaboration with industry provides incentives to deliver solutions for society that truly contribute to a sustainable future
Tell something about yourself which other Biobased ValueCircle people might not know yet?
I like dancing to parties a lot!
How did you become a researcher/scientist?
My university studies started at Wageningen University. I studied molecular sciences with specializations in chemistry and biochemistry and a minor in teaching. My master thesis concerned the study of the mechanisms of drought tolerance in plants with the ultimate aim to improve the drought tolerance of food crops. During my Ph.D. at the Delft University of Technology, I studied activation mechanisms in NiW and CoW hydrotreating catalysts with spectroscopic techniques, such as Mössbauer spectrometry and EXAFS (Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure). The goal was to unravel structure-function relationships to improve the catalysts for desulfurization of diesel fractions in oil refineries to reduce SO2 emissions from diesel vehicles. I very much enjoyed the research, but I wanted to learn new things and develop myself further.
Therefore, after my Ph.D., I left the university for seven years and worked as a program manager for the Dutch national research council (NWO) and subsequently as a consultant on sustainable building materials in a company. When I returned to the university, I joined the office of the Maastricht University Executive Board, where I took part in setting up new initiatives: Brightlands Chemelot Campus, the research group and master Biobased Materials, and the research institutes Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials and Chemelot Institute for Science and Technology.
I am back in academic research since 2015 and I set up my research group on the sustainability of chemicals and materials. Since 2019, I am a professor holding the chair of Sustainable Chemicals and Materials.
What are your hobbies?
My favorite activities are gardening and walking on the hills in the Limburg area. I am active in a social network for a green and pleasant neighborhood and I am a member of the school council of the elementary school of my children. During holidays, I like to go hiking in the mountains in Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.