CND2023 – Your member networking event

Following the General Assembly, this year’s CLIB Networking Day took place at Covestro in Leverkusen. For the fifth time, CLIB organised this member-exclusive event which gives new members the perfect framework to introduce themselves, while also allowing long-standing members to give an update on their progress. At the same time, the CND was a wonderful opportunity to look back on 15 years of CLIB and to thank long-time companions.

Roland Breves, the newly elected Chairman of CLIB, had to perform his first official task and opened the CND. He was followed by the welcome from the host Covestro combined with the first technical presentation of the day, in which Gernot Jäger reported on where biotechnology can benefit an innovative chemical company, especially with regard to plastics.

To crown the 15th anniversary CLIB campaign, Dennis Herzberg took the members on a journey through the history of CLIB and showed exclusive pictures from the cluster’s archives. In case you missed it, here you can find some impressions and all our recent LinkedIn-Posts collected as anniversary brochure. Of course, the CLIB Team did not miss the opportunity to thank the long-time companions from the Advisory Board and the Executive Board. Unfortunately, Manfred Kircher could not be present, but Karl-Heinz Maurer, Hans-Jürgen Mittelstaedt, and Karl-Erich Jaeger (who had been serving on the Executive Board from the beginning and is now retiring) – gladly accepted their bouquet of flowers. Even though the Cluster has changed personnel over the years (a big thank you to all the former employees!), there were two constants in the Cluster Office: Dennis Herzberg and Tatjana Schwabe-Marković. And as deserved as unexpected for both of them, they received two extra bouquets of flowers.

As second keynote, Advisory Board member Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg presented the Bio4MatPro competence centre, in the creation of which CLIB also played a major role. This lighthouse project in the structural change of the Rhenish mining area is intended to use biotechnology to bring new material innovations into application.

After the first networking break, the programme included pitches from new as well as established members of CIB. Tobias Kirchhoff (BCNP) emphasised how important sustainability management will be for almost all companies from 2025 onwards – and how little most companies know about it so far. Jan-Dirk Küsters-Spöring from Enzymaster presented the range of services this enzyme specialist can offer, including enzyme, strain, and process development. VITO, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, is not only the coordinator of our joint project COUNTLESS but – as Wouter Van Hecke presented – has also established the sustainable production of azeo-esters as platform technology.

The second half of the pitches started with Burkhard Ohs from Neste explaining why we need regenerative feedstock and where it could come from. There was a recent change at the Chair of Biochemical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, so postdoc Katharina Miebach gave an overview of the planned activities of the new professor Jørgen Magnus. For BRAIN Biotech, Alexander Pelzer showed how his company is driving the development of sustainable biobased processes in the three topic areas of enzymes & proteins, microorganisms, and processes. Finally, Petar Keković presented the start-up MicroHarvest, which wants to establish an efficient protein supply for mankind based on microorganisms.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all speakers, all visitors, and, of course, our host Covestro. We are looking forward to seeing the CLIB family again at the CLIB International Conference in Düsseldorf!