Amsterdam, October 10th, 2014 – Prof. Richard Parker of Rolls-Royce plc and Dr. Gert-Jan Gruter of Avantium were awarded as CTO of the Year Europe 2014 representing large companies and SMEs, respectively. The award ceremony took place on October 9th in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, by EIRMA and Spinverse.
CTO of the Year is an award to promote the importance of technology and innovations for Europe’s future, and especially the crucial role of technology leadership in this. It highlights outstanding technology leaders in innovative European companies: persons who are inspiring leaders, foresighted technology managers and who contribute to the development and sustainability of their industries, as well as to society at large.
The nominations included excellent candidates representing successful companies and industries: from IT start-ups to innovative food producers and world leaders in chemistry and materials. Professor Yrjö Neuvo, the chairman of the international high-level jury and former CTO of Nokia, says that “the great number of excellent nominations received reflects the request to highlight the role of leadership in technology. The jury’s task was definitely not trivial”. In their decisions, the jury considered the features of both the persons and their companies, together with the societal impact they had achieved.
In the SME category, Dr. Gert-Jan Gruter, Chief Technology Officer of Avantium from the Netherlands was awarded based on his and the company’s impressive work, focus on innovation and strong partnerships combined with the future potential. Avantium is specialized in the area of advanced catalytic research, and the jury saw their green chemistry as a great European advantage. Dr. Gruter says that “I am honoured to receive this special award and I see this as recognition for the pioneering work of the entire Avantium team, who developed a number of truly disruptive technologies in the renewable chemicals space. This required focus, commitment and support from the people around me, but also from our partners and investors. This award is a fantastic stimulus as it marks the next era for our new polyester PEF, a material that is set to start a revolution in the plastics market.”
Prof. Richard Parker (CBE FREng), Director of Research & Technology of Rolls-Royce plc was awarded as the winner of the large company category. The jury valued Prof. Parker’s personal leadership and long career in technology innovation, and the strong effort towards partnering to the outside world. Their view was that both Prof. Parker and Rolls Royce, a UK-based company providing power for aircraft, ships and land applications, are highly respected by all their stakeholders and have achieved great deeds. “I am amazed, very happy, privileged and deeply honoured to be the first winner of the CTO of the Year competition. Effective investment in industrial R&D is essential for European competitiveness. I am pleased that the strength of Rolls-Royce in this area is recognised by this award”, says Prof. Parker.
About the CTO of the Year award
The European CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the Year award is a platform to recognize the importance of technology and innovation in Europe, given to the most innovative technology leader of a highly successful European company. The award is organized by Spinverse Ltd (Innovation Consultancy) and EIRMA (the European Industry Research and Management Association), and endorsed by Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission.
Avantium is a leading technology company specialized in the area of advanced catalytic research, with groundbreaking innovations as the primary goal. Avantium has two business units: Catalysis and YXY. At business unit Catalysis, it is the mission to make customers successful by providing smart and fast solutions, based on Avantium’s unique technology, knowledge and expertise. Over the last 15 years Avantium (co)invented multiple new catalysts, new chemical processes and realized significant cost savings allowing our customers to achieve their business objectives much faster than previously possible.
Based on this expertise Avantium developed a novel process for the creation of commercial PEF. YXY is the brand name for this cost competitive technology platform to catalytically convert plant based materials into biobased chemicals and bioplastics like PEF. PEF is a novel 100% biobased polyester with enhanced barrier, thermal and mechanical properties over existing packaging materials. Together with partners The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, ALPLA and Swire Pacific, Avantium aims to make PEF bottles a commercial success. Our proprietary YXY process to make PEF has been proven at pilot plant scale as we are now moving to commercial deployment. Avantium’s headquarters are based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Avantium is running an YXY pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands.