Aalto University introduced its research to the industrial minerals company Imerys
‘Aalto is an interesting collaboration partner, because you invest in corporate collaboration in addition to high-grade academic research’
Deeba Ansari, Research and Development Director for Kaolin at Imerys, visited the School of Chemical Engineering in early March. The company became acquainted with Aalto University in a common EU project that was finished last year. The Sustainable Technologies for Industrial Minerals (STOICISM) project included 17 partners from eight European countries and its budget was approximately 8 million euros. Imerys planned and coordinated the project, and it was initiated by the company's R&D Director (Kaolin) Deeba Ansari.
‘We are currently participating in two active EU projects. One of them is a product development project, which complements the STOICISM project. The other one revolves around the entrepreneurial training of doctoral candidates in the field of processing industry data analytics,’ tells Professor Sirkka-Liisa Jämsä-Jounela. Deeba Ansari was aware of Aalto's process automation research because of the previous collaboration. Invited by Professor Jämsä-Jounela, she wished to be introduced to other study areas at the School of Chemical Engineering.
‘I wanted to meet people in person, because I believe that it is easier to remember ideas and to create closer collaboration through personal contact. Imerys is launching its new innovation strategy and I’m looking for possible new collaboration partners. We strive at working closely with universities, because it's difficult to achieve new solutions, especially in novel areas, alone’, Deeba Ansari says and adds that Aalto's robust investment in corporate collaboration is a great asset.
‘We collaborate with top universities to assist in achieving academic goals, and building for the future, but in order for the company to benefit from the research, the university must be attractive from the commercial point of view, as well.’
In addition to meeting professors and researchers, Deeba Ansari looked forward to seeing the testing halls and facilities. ‘I’m impressed by these small factories and halls where you can immediately see what the research is practically about. I know that Aalto conducts high-grade research in various fields. I find combining fashion and chemical technology particularly fascinating,’ she states.
Imerys and Aalto will surely collaborate in the future. ‘We have several Innovation centres of excellence where I will share the ideas I gain during my visit. We’re constantly looking for new products, because we wish to focus on new materials and material technology.’
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The visit started with Sirkka-Liisa Jämsä-Jounela's students’ presentations, in which they told about their own research work. Deeba Ansari commented that in addition to academic merits, research has a direct connection to the needs of the company.