Research without borders: Bayer marks 10 years of collaboration with researchers and academics in Russia
Conference held with the International Science and Technology Center and the Russian Academy of Sciences launches future success projects.
Tuesday - January 23, 2007 - Moscow – Bayer has been collaborating with Russian research institutions and universities for over 10 years now to lay the groundwork for new materials. The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are holding a conference in Moscow from January 23 to 24, 2007, to generate new contacts and innovation potential. At numerous technical presentations and poster sessions, Bayer MaterialScience researchers and Russian scientists will have an opportunity to compare notes on trends in chemistry and material research, as well as current and planned collaborative projects. In addition to nanotechnology, the agenda includes intelligent materials, catalysis and process development.
The Russian economy is booming and therefore represents an important sales market for Bayer MaterialScience: “Our business here reflects our entire product portfolio,” says Jörg Syrzisko, senior country representative for the company. His prediction: In the future, products with Bayer MaterialScience involvement will reach one in four of the 250 million people in the region. “Our Russian colleagues are proven experts in the fields of organic chemistry, polymer chemistry and synthesis,” explains Dr. Thomas Rölle, coordinator at Bayer MaterialScience for collaborative projects with academic and research institutions. “Their skills are of great interest to us, as chemistry ultimately determines the success of better, more environmentally compatible and user-friendly consumer products.” Bayer has been supporting a research and development partnership with the RAS since 1996. It became a partner of the ISTC in 1998 and developed innovative radiation protection additives together with the Arzamas Atomic Research Center from 1999 to 2003. When interdisciplinary teams work together to complete complex tasks, they significantly shorten the research and development phase. Some twelve projects are currently under way. A total of 14 projects were concluded successfully in 2006 alone, and seven new ones are in the planning.
Exchange encourages new ideas
The conference is intended to uncover common ground for new projects. While Russian nanotechnology specialists present information on “self-cleaning surfaces” and “intelligent fillers”, Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer Technology Services have paved the way for the cost-efficient, industrial-scale production of the company’s own Baytubes® carbon nanotubes by developing a pilot plant with an annual capacity of 30 tons. “Thanks to German/Russian development projects, our Baytubes® may soon be put to use in electronic components, storage batteries and fuel cells,” says Martin Schmid, carbon nanotubes business manager. “These little powerhouses make plastics conductive, as well as highly break and heat resistant.”
One current project with the RAS has led to the first patent applications: transparent glazing with photochrome coatings, which darkens automatically when exposed to light so as to prevent indoor temperatures from rising excessively. If polycarbonate applications for all kinds of glazing are a success, the market potential will be immense.
Efficiency, intellectual capital, growth
Catalysis and process development are the other main topics of the conference, and both are decisive for the feasibility, efficiency and profitability of processes. As a global leader in polymers, Bayer MaterialScience is working together with the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis in Nowosibirsk and the Institute of Applied Chemistry in St. Petersburg. The Russian researchers are among the best in the world when it comes to the manufacture and modification of polymer intermediates and the development of processes for coating and adhesive raw materials.
Research and development partnerships of this kind are also a success thanks in part to the ScienceNet online database maintained at Bayer MaterialScience. Over 100 universities and 500 leading researchers all over the world are stored in the database. For project manager Dr. Thomas Rölle, ScienceNet is like a “high-bay warehouse for intellectual capital”. When searching for external specialists to collaborate on joint projects, the in-house database selects only those network partners from existing contacts who are relevant for Bayer MaterialScience. Furthermore, ScienceNet keeps Bayer MaterialScience up-to-date on current trends in international university research. “Structures like this are highly effective in connection with existing networks if you want to master the complexity of modern research,” Dr. Rölle concludes.
With sales of EUR 10.7 billion in 2005, Bayer MaterialScience AG is one of the world’s largest polymer manufacturers. Its main fields of activity are the production of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of everyday life. The main consumer sectors are the automotive, electrical/electronics, construction, sports and leisure industries. Bayer MaterialScience has production facilities at 40 sites around the world and a workforce of approx. 18,800. Bayer MaterialScience is part of the Bayer Group.
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