Sammy Verbruggen wins Belgian Industrial R&D prize

Date: 22 May 2015

Introduction: In the area of Science&Technology, the BiR&D PhD award was granted to Sammy Verbruggen from the Universities of Antwerp and Leuven for a study on air purification technology using titanium dioxide photocatalysts.

The Belgian Industrial Research & Development board (BiR&D) has granted today, during its annual event, the awards for multidisciplinary research to doctoral students who have cooperated across the boundaries of their research domain on research themes with high societal and industrial relevance. 

In the area of Science&Technology, the BiR&D PhD Award was granted to Sammy Verbruggen from the Universities of Antwerp and Leuven for a study on air purification technology using titanium dioxide photocatalysts. In the area of Life&Health Sciences, Amandine Everard from the Université Catholique de Louvain was awarded for her PhD thesis on the role of intestinal bacteria in controlling obesity. Both grantees receive 10.000 euro. The Award event was attended by high-level representatives from industry, universities and government.

The BiR&D Awards for Multidisciplinary Research are annual awards granted to PhD students that have combined academic research of outstanding quality with a multidisciplinary approach, on research themes that have a strong economic, societal or ecological impact. With these awards, BiR&D stresses the importance of multidisciplinary cooperation between academia and industry in order to reinforce Belgium’s R&D ecosystem. BiR&D strives at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of industrial research in Belgium, and also aims at enhancing Belgium’s image as a preferred location for industrial research and development.

Marnix Botte, Chairman of BiR&D  and Vice President Bell Labs Antwerp Alcatel-Lucent: “To keep international companies in Belgium and to  further develop our industry, industrial research in Belgium must be nurtured. It is important for R&D and innovation managers to exchange best practices and continuously improve, but we also have to invest in long-term cooperation with knowledge centres such as universities, in an atmosphere of professionalism and confidence.”

Andre Convents, Vice President of BiR&D and Section Head R&D Household Care, Procter & Gamble, said about the Awards: “BiR&D encourages interdisciplinary research and innovation at universities and their associations. We think that this is a very important skill for the future researchers in our companies.”

BiR&D (Belgian industrial Research & Development board) is a non-profit association of international companies, having a significant R&D activity in Belgium. The association assembles senior R&D managers from 21 industrial companies: AB Inbev , AGC-Glass Europe, Alcatel-Lucent, Atlas Copco, Baxter, Bekaert, Cargill, Carmeuse, Coca Cola, GSK Bio, Janssen Pharma (Johnson&Johnson), Laborelec , Lhoist Group, Magotteaux, OCAS-ArcelorMittal, Procter & Gamble, Puratos, Recticel, Solvay, UCB and Umicore. Together these companies employ more than 70,000 people in Belgium, including more than 8,000 in research and development (R&D). BiR&D was created in 2008, under the auspices of the Prince Philip Foundation, and operates in close cooperation with the sector federations Agoria (technology industry) and essenscia (chemicals and life sciences).