The International Innovation Competition (IIC) is organized every five years in honour of the lustrum of ‘het Technologisch Gezelschap’. This year the competition will take place in an online environment. Master students from all over Europe are invited to participate and work in teams of two on a case provided by a company. The kickoff day will take place on the 13th of February, where the case will be explained in more detail by the company and where a creativity workshop will be held which will help the participants during the course of the competition. This competition will also be an official TU Delft course for 3 ECTS which can be chosen as a free elective by the students of the Msc Chemical Engineering.

The participating students are required to be of Master level and will be graded based on the quality of their final report and pitch about the case study. Just like any other course, students from TU Delft will automatically receive the 3 ECTS upon completion of the course with a sufficient grade. Students from other universities within the Netherlands can apply to follow this course at the TU Delft as a guest student. They will need to apply for the ECTS using the following link. Students from universities outside of the Netherlands will need to apply for the extra credits themselves at their respective university to their own board of examiners or something similar. All of the participants will receive a certificate from the Chemical Engineering program at the TU Delft.

The teams are expected to hand in a report and make a pitch about their innovative idea which will both be graded. From these pitches the best 8-10 teams will be chosen to present their case on a final presentation day on the 8th of May before a jury consisting out of three TU Delft professors and two representatives from the company. The top five winners will receive a cash prize ranging from €600,- to €1,200,- ! This year the IIC will partner up with the German company Evonik.

About the Company: Evonik

We may not manufacture tires, mattresses, medications, or animal feeds, but Evonik is part of all of those products –and many more. While we often contribute only small amounts of material, those contributions are precisely what make the difference. That’s because Evonik products make tires fuel-efficient, mattresses more elastic, medications more effective, and animal feeds healthier. That’s what specialty chemicals are all about. And when it comes to specialty chemicals, we’re among the best in the world.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €13.1 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.15 billion in 2019. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers. More than 32,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life, today and tomorrow. 

About the case:

The case is provided by Evonik. They are looking for new ways to become more sustainable and need your help! As a chemical engineer you are challenged to find a creative and innovative way to chemically recycle a mixed plastic waste stream.

At the beginning of the project, all the necessary information will be provided by Evonik. More information about different recycling methods and techniques can be found by conducting a literature study. This will be the start of the creative process, which will take up most of the course.

After multiple rounds of idea iteration in a couple of weeks you will have a great idea for Evonik. It is then time to work out all the details and prove that your concept is worth trying. This is done by providing a process flow diagram and estimates of the energy requirements, carbon footprint and other environmental impact categories of your recycling technique. The deadline for the reports and pitches will be on the 18th of April, and the final presentations will take place on 8th of May.

Coaching will be done by a coach from the student’s own university. The student must search for assistance within their university. The coach acts completely independent from the organization. The student is obliged to see their coach/supervisor at least three times during the competition and the student needs to report their progress to the organization using the option on MS Teams. Coaches/supervisors need to register on the website or by sending us an e-mail at

More detailed information about the case and the research directions will be provided on the kick-off day. You can register by filling in the registration form before the 8th of February.

About the Jury:

Ir. Pieter Swinkels

Managing Director Delft Product and Process Design Institute
Asst. Professor Product & Process Design & Engineering

After obtaining his MSc (ir.) degree in Chemical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology in 1986, he worked in various positions in Unilever and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) for 15 years. He was a member of the Unilever R&D team that invented novel detergent powder formulations and manufacturing processes (1986-1991). Within Unilever’s specialty chemicals business (later part of National Starch & Chemical Company and ICI) he held positions in manufacturing, product & process design and development, and as divisional process development manager (1992-2001).

In 2001 he switched career and moved to Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) as Asst. Professor in product & process design and engineering, became managing director of the post-MSc PDEng designer programs, and is involved in joint design and innovation projects with many of TU Delft’s industrial partners. He develops product and process design methodologies and teaches and applies these in the (bio)chemical engineering focussed MSc and PDEng programs in cooperation with industry.

Prof. Atsushi Urakawa

Professor of Catalysis Engineering at TU Delft

Atsushi Urakawa was born in Japan. He obtained his BSc degree (with one year stay in the USA) in Applied Chemistry at Kyushu University (Japan) and he studied Chemical Engineering at Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) for his MSc degree. He obtained his PhD in 2006 from ETH Zurich (Switzerland) where he worked as Senior Scientist and Lecturer until he joined ICIQ as Group Leader in Spain in 2010. In 2019, he undertook a new challenge as Professor of Catalysis Engineering at Delft University of Technology. His research team combines fundamental and applied research and focuses on the rational development of heterogeneous catalysts and processes aided by in situ and operando methodologies. 

Dr. Henk Nugteren

Formerly researcher and lecturer at the Product and Process Engineering Section 
(Chemical Engineering Department, TU Delft)
Retired since December 2018

He obtained his BSc and MSc in Ore Geology and Geochemistry at the Free University in Amsterdam and his PhD at the TU Delft on the production of novel products from waste materials.From 1979 to 1994, he worked in United Nations development projects and later in TU Delft projects in Cameroon, Colombia, United Arab Emirates and Zambia. From 1994 he joined the Chemical Engineering Department at the TU Delft. His research focused on the use of industrial waste for sustainable production of innovative materials such as geopolymers. He lectured sustainability related courses at undergraduate level and process safety and energy and mass integration for product and process design courses at graduate level.

Evonik Representatives:

Dr. David Michael Bailey

Technology and Application Development
Evonik Operations GmbH | Technology & Infrastructure

After completing his B.Sc. in organic chemistry at the University of Victoria in Canada, Dr. David Bailey continued his studies, both obtaining his Ph.D. and working as a lecturer at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada). There, he focused on the synthesis and photochemistry of novel anthracene species. Dr. Bailey then moved to Bremen, Germany for Post-Doctoral studies at Jacobs University working on Cucurbituril-based host-guest chemistry. He then joined Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA in the aerospace division working together with Airbus S.A.S. In 2011 he began his career at Evonik Industries AG working first within the strategic research arm, Creavis, as a project manager. There he was responsible for multiple R&D projects with topics ranging from carbon fiber composites recycling, to new forms of highly insulative PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) compounds. Dr. Bailey then moved to the Technology & Infrastructure unit within Evonik, where he is currently developing new chemical production processes and supporting innovation initiatives throughout the division.

Dr. Andree Blesgen

Head of Environmental Technologies
Evonik Operations GmbH

After studying Environmental Technology at the University of Applied Sciences Bremen, Germany and Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, he received his PhD from the University Bremen in 2009. Andree worked in various positions within Evonik in Germany and the USA. He is mostly focusing on sustainability topics like wastewater treatment, process optimization, Life Cycle Assessment, circular economy, and polymer recycling technologies. 

Dr. Thomas Richter

Head of Polymer Technologies
Evonik Operations GmbH

Thomas has studied Chemistry at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and the University of Alicante, Spain, focusing on Polymer Chemistry. He received his PhD from the University of Freiburg for his work in the field of materials for organic electronic devices in 2011. After a short stay at the University of Stuttgart, he held several positions at Evonik in Innovation Management, Research & Development and Application Technology in Evonik´s polymer and foams businesses. Currently, he is responsible for the polymer technology activities in the central process technology department of Evonik.