Chantal Claessens

Chantal Claessens

R&D project leader in the polymer chemistry team

'Working passionately for a better future'

Chantal Claessens

‘Working passionately for a better future’

Chemist Chantal Claessens (26) is a specialist in biobased materials. Together with her R&D team, she is constantly optimising Plantics bio-resins and devising and testing new applications.

Chantal started her career at Plantics as an intern. ‘After a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, I did a master’s degree in Biobased Materials at Maastricht University. As an intern, I came here in October 2021 and I then did my thesis on Plantics’ bio-resins applied to composites.’ What’s special is that she now supervises interns at Plantics herself. ‘We always have room for four to six trainees a year. Often some of them stick around, just like me,’ Chantal says, smiling. ‘I like that I get to make them enthusiastic about these unique products. Thus we are working towards a circular economy with fewer fossil-based products.’

Innovating with passion

Polymer chemistry knowledge is an important part of her work. ‘We are always making variations of our bio-resins and combining them with different natural fibres. We test each new combination extensively in the laboratory for chemical and mechanical properties.’ Innovation is thus fully embedded in the way Plantics works. ‘Most colleagues consciously and passionately choose to work towards a better future, to do something good for future generations,’ Chantal observes.

Learning from each other

Within Plantics, most colleagues work in various projects. Chantal, for example, is project leader of the Circuz project. ‘Because we are involved in different projects, we also work in different multidisciplinary teams and with different external partners. That way we exchange a lot of knowledge. And if you have questions about something, all colleagues are also very accessible. Moreover, we have a network of experienced consultants from whom we can learn a lot,’ Chantal says enthusiastically. ‘Not only do you learn a lot about different aspects of the process, but there is also room to develop yourself.’ With some regularity, for instance, Chantal can be found as a speaker at trade fairs. I like the fact that I can contribute in this way to make Plantics more widely known.’

Pioneering with confidence

It appeals to Chantal that working at Plantics offers a lot of freedom. ‘You are flexible in organising your work and can take the initiative in picking up and developing new ideas yourself. For example, I am proud that I was given the confidence to buy new equipment for my project, which I used to conduct research during my thesis. Plantics is really a pioneer in the field, so we have to figure out and develop a lot of things ourselves. Being allowed to become project leader so soon also makes me proud. You do have to work hard for it, but if you show that you can do it, you also get that confidence and you can grow.’

Warm team spirit

‘I can recommend joining Plantics to anyone. You really feel involved in the Plantics team. Our R&D team consists mainly of young people who motivate each other. This not only applies at the workplace, you can also count on your colleagues after working hours. We regularly cook together, have dinner together, go into town for drinks, and so on. We really have a close-knit team feeling, which feels very nice’.