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Out of the laboratory - Jülich scientists on a company visit to Evonik in Marl

“It’s always refreshing for me to see where people end up in the industry after completing their doctoral degree, and what new challenges chemists have to tackle outside of research.” That is how Britta Mayerhöfer, a doctoral researcher at IEK-11, describes the recent company visit to Evonik in Marl.

On 5 September 2019, around 30 early-career scientists from Jülich embarked on a trip to Marl – the home of one of the largest chemical parks in Germany – to get an impression of what it's like to work as a researcher at a chemical company. Evonik’s strategic innovation unit, Creavis, was the focal point of the visit. The whole trip was organized by the Career Center & Postdoc Office.

Company Visit

After a brief, informative overview of what's important to know if, for example, you want to apply for a job in project management at Evonik, the visitors had plenty of opportunities to speak directly with researchers from a wide range of departments working in a wide variety of roles. Over lunch, they had the chance to ask direct questions and get answers even on critical topics. Like many other attendees, Claire Dibble, an engineer and postdoc at IBG-1, found this first-hand exchange particularly helpful. “I particularly enjoyed talking with Kira, a project manager, over our lovely lunch. She is working on a membrane project for separating carbon dioxide from natural gas. A current, special customer has requested such a membrane, and this technology was identified as having a much broader market potential.”

It became clear from the various discussions that research at Creavis/Evonik is always done in the pursuit of developing new business opportunities.

Company Visit

“It is sometimes a challenge to prove the worth of projects to management. Senior management can view innovation projects as expensive overhead,” as Clare was informed. Many attendees were also surprised by how many of the employees have relatively long commutes to work in Marl every day. That was another impression that emerged from the face-to-face discussions and helped to paint a full picture of the general conditions in an industrial company. This helped the attendees to judge how attractive this career option would be for themselves.

Individual projects were viewed and explained on a guided tour that followed, during which the Jülich scientists had the chance to speak with Evonik employees in more detail about overlaps with their own fields. For example, Britta Mayerhöfer had the opportunity to exchange views with an Evonik membrane specialist about her doctoral project.

All things considered, this was an inspiring trip that left the attendees with lots of food for thought. More visits to other interesting organizations are already being planned.

Additional Information



Andrea Bosten
Career Center & Postdoc Office
Phone: +492461 61-85407

Viola Middendorf
Career Center & Postdoc Office
Phone: +492461 61-85404


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