The goal of the VITRIMAT project is to train 11 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs). The applicants selected for each position further to the VITRIMAT recruitment process are presented below.

Liliana JOOSTEN - University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon, France

ESR01 - High throughput synthesis of nanostructured vitrimer-based thermoplastics


Liliana Joosten is a material scientist, eager to contribute to the development of a circular and sustainable economy. She is driven by curiosity about the natural world and is passionate about the utilization of natural products for high performance material applications. Liliana finished her Master in Biobased Materials at Maastricht University, where she focused on the development and improvement of biobased polymers, as well as their end-of-life options. At her last project she worked on the synthesis and processing of ultra-high molecular weight polyamides.

Benedetta RIGATELLI - University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon, France

ESR02 - Processing and chemical modification of polyolefin vitrimers by reactive extrusion


After attending classical high school and earning Engineering bachelor’s degree, Benedetta Rigatelli obtained her master’s degree in Materials Engineering and Nanotechnology at Politecnico di Milano in 2018. She developed her master thesis on thermo-responsive luminescent solar concentrators based on Diels-Alder host polymers in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. After the graduation, Benedetta started her career as a research fellow at Politecnico di Milano where she studied and developed polymeric materials based on covalent adaptable networks able to be repaired and re-used. Her strong interest in vitrimers and covalent adaptable networks arises from the belief that the re-design of molecules and chemical structures is a new and powerful tool to provide re-cyclability and circularity to such materials without affecting their performance.

Aitor HERNANDEZ TORIBIO - Ghent University (PCR), Ghent, Belgium

ESR03 - Fast processing of vitrimer materials based on inventive chemistry platforms


Aitor Hernández Toribio earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of the Basque Country (UPV – EHU) in 2018 with a minor on polymer chemistry. During his senior year, he was admitted in the Ikasiker (student-researcher) scholarship program funded by the Basque Government, and conducted a research on polymeric liquid crystals at the POLYMAT Basque Center for macromolecular design & engineering in San Sebastián. Prior to obtaining a master’s degree at the UPV – EHU on Polymer Chemistry in 2019, he was selected by the Connecting Talent Scholarship Program funded by San Sebastian’s city hall to conduct a six-month collaboration project between the POLYMAT center and the Polymer Chemistry Research group (PCR) in Belgium as a full-time trainee, developing a new kind of Internally-Catalyzed Polyurethane Based Covalent Adaptable Network as a result. Before getting selected by the PCR as his First Stage Researcher for the European Network VITRIMAT project, in early 2020 he attended a full-semester intensive English program at the University of Florida English Language Institute. There, he graduated at the highest offered level, corresponding to an advanced level of English. Currently, he is interested and motivated to be involved in projects that would work towards the substitution of the conventional thermosets through the development of greener and more sustainable materials.

Virginia AMFILOCHIOU - Ghent University (MMS), Ghent, Belgium

ESR04 - Processing and mechanical characterization of recyclable vitrimer composites for automotive applications


Virginia Amfilochiou is a new member in the research group of “Mechanics of Materials and Structures” at Ghent University, in Belgium (UGent-MMS). She recently started her PhD on manufacturing and mechanical characterisation of vitrimer composites. She has industrial experience in the qualification of composite aerospace materials and 2 years of research experience in composite manufacturing and product development through her MS in Aerospace Materials and MEng in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics. Passionate about composites being the future of manufacturing and with an outgoing personality, she is highly inspired to make an impact in future composite manufacturing and applications. 

Tansu ABBASOGLU - University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain

ESR05 - Sustainable isocyanate-free polyhydroxyurethane vitrimers for foams applications


Tansu Abbasoglu obtained her BSc in Chemistry at the University of Bogazici in Turkey. After that, she received a Double-degree in the International Master program in Polymer Science between the University of Freiburg and Strasbourg. During her Masters in Prof. Andreas Walther's group, her research mainly focused on vitrimers and molecular engineering of bio-inspired nanocomposites. Now she is part of the ETN VITRIMAT and joined Sardon’s Research Group as a PhD student, working on sustainable isocyanate-free polyhydroxyurethane (PHU) vitrimers for foam applications.

Giulia VOZZOLO - University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain

ESR06 - Dichalcogenide-based vitrimers as debond-on-demand adhesives and scratch-resistant coatings

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Giulia Vozzolo earned her B. Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in July 2016. Her bachelor thesis project was carried out at La Sapienza University, under the supervision of M.P. Donzello. In December 2018 she obtained her Master Degree in Chemistry (Curriculum: Methods of Synthesis and Bio-Organic Chemistry) at the University of Bologna “Alma Mater Studiorum”. She carried out six months of internship at the University of Strasbourg, at “SOPhy” (Laboratoire de Synthèse Organique et Phytochimie) under the supervision of Dr. L. Miesch. After her Master Degree she made a post-graduate internship and then was awarded of a scholarship at the University of Bologna (Department of Industrial Chemistry). Her Bachelor thesis project focused on the synthesis and characterization of tetrapyrazinoporphyrazine complexes of Iron (II) and the study of the coordination properties of these complexes. Her Master degree internship research project concerned the synthesis and characterization of a hypothesized metabolic intermediate of Harpagoside, a bioactive molecule. During her post-graduate internship and her scholarship at the University of Bologna her research mainly focused on the synthesis of new monomers by cycloaddition reactions and the synthesis of a prepolymer to make photocurable resins for 3D-printing. This research project was carried out under the supervision of professors M.C. Franchini and L. Sambri. As from October 2020 she is a Ph.D. student in Polymer Science at POLYMAT under the supervision of Dr. H. Sardon. The current Ph.D. research is focused on the synthesis and characterization of new monomers for novel vitrimers, a class of polymeric materials.

Diego CIARDI - Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, Paris, France

ESR07 - Multiscale characterization of phase-separated polyolefin vitrimers with tuneable network structure


Diego Ciardi is an Italian 24 years old fellow, born in Florence and student at University of Florence until July 2020. He graduated in materials chemistry with honors. During his university career he developed a strong interest for the world of research and innovation, paying particular attention to all the environmental issues and the climate problems the world is facing now. He decided to participate to the VITRIMAT project to bring a contribution by investigating the impact of self-organization and phase separation at different length scales on relevant properties in vitrimers. He believes that the study of new materials can truly give shape to a new starting point for solving the most current problems, replacing or eliminating the old paths that are no longer suitable for an ever-changing world.

Francis JOSE - Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

ESR08 - Theory and modeling of structural and mechanical relaxation in vitrimer materials


Francis Jose has received his BS-MS dual degree in Physical Sciences from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research(IISER), Bhopal, India. He is set to join for a doctoral program as a part of the ‘Theory of polymers and soft matter’ group in the Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology. His doctoral research will primarily focus on theory and modelling of Vitrimer materials. He has previously done research in Soft Matter and Computational Physics in his period of undergraduate study, particularly in the collective behaviour of active colloids and polymers. Passionate about Physics and computation, his future interests include Polymer Physics, Physics of complex systems, non-equilibrium Soft Matter and theoretical Biophysics.

Sjoerd ENGELS - University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

ESR09 - Highly ordered nacre-inspired vitrimer nanocomposites with light-adaptive properties


Sjoerd Engels, from the Netherlands, is 24 years old. He did his Bachelor in chemistry at the Radboud University in Nijmegen where he graduated after an internship at the physical chemistry department working on cleavable hydrogel crosslinks. He followed up with a master in molecular chemistry at the Radboud University. During his master he interned in the molecular materials department where he worked on monomer and polymer synthesis along with hydrogel preparation and mechanical analysis. He also interned at the Smith School of Chemical Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell university in New York. For this project he worked on topological defects in liquid crystals as templated for polymeric self-assembly. His research interests involve polymeric materials, smart adaptive materials, chemical synthesis, and molecular networks and self-assembly.

Hiba KASSEM - Recticel N.V., Wetteren, Belgium

ESR10 - Synthesis of recyclable flexible and rigid PU foams from upscalable functional vitrimer building blocks


Hiba Kassem is a passionate polymer chemist specialized in biobased polymers, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Lebanese University in 2017 and later did her masters in biobased materials at Maastricht University. During her studies she collaborated with companies in two projects for the recycling of packaging materials. Her last research focused on the fabrication of sustainable composites where the water driven exfoliation and dispersion of cellulose nanofibers in polymeric composites was studied. Moreover, as a chemist Hiba aims to find solutions for the current environmental issues and be part of the second green revolution. Her interests in the field vary from polymer physics, bio-inspired nanomaterials, stimuli responsive materials and molecular nanotechnology.

Jens Danneels - Covestro Deutschland AG, Leverkusen, Germany

ESR11 - Multifunctional vitrimer building blocks for the synthesis of recyclable PU materials for a circular economy


Jens Danneels received his master’s degree in chemistry from Ghent University (Belgium).
His curriculum focussed on materials chemistry with an emphasis on polymer and supramolecular chemistry. The title of his Master Thesis was “Reinforcing thermoplastic polystyrene via semi-interpenetrating polymer network formation using vinylogous urethane vitrimers”. As from December 2020 he is a Ph.D. student at COVESTRO under the supervision of Dr. D. Dijkstra.